In March Alone, There Were Six Separate Cases Of Tenncare Fraud Reported In Tennessee. This Number Is Up From Only One Case In February And Another Single Case In January. The March Cases Involve Offenders All Across Tennessee And From Other States Including New Hampshire And Georgia.
Published April 1, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
In March alone, there were six separate cases of TennCare fraud reported in Tennessee.
This number is up from only one case in February and another single case in January.
In the first case, reported March 10th, a New Hampshire man was extradited to Middle Tennessee on three separate charges of TennCare fraud.
Jeremy Hood of Groveton, New Hampshire was charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, a class D felony.
Investigators said the charges are in connection with allegedly selling pills Hood obtained using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. Hood was also charged with three counts of manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession of methamphetamines and misdemeanor failure to appear.
In the indictment against Hood, investigators allege that he used TennCare benefits to pay for two separate doctor’s appointments and two subsequent trips to the pharmacy where he obtained prescriptions for Oxycodone.
Hood is accused of allegedly selling a portion of the drugs on three separate occasions to a confidential informant working with the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force.
On February 10, 2021 Hood was apprehended in Groveton, New Hampshire and in March he was extradited back to Cheatham County, Tennessee. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney General Ray Crouch.
The second case, reported on March 16th, involved a Davidson County Couple.
Gregg Garner and his wife, Tara Garner had charges brought against them when they allegedly failed to report their income from businesses they owned or co-owned, including Hopewell Family Care, Califarmia food truck and Music City Handyman.
The income would have disqualified members of their family for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. As a result, TennCare paid more than $18,000 in fees and claims for healthcare services for their children.
“Income eligibility cases always prove to be complex investigations, especially with business owners,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “The work of our forensic accounting team and our entire staff proved to be invaluable in discovering the Garner’s true income.”
The TennCare fraud charges are class D felonies and the theft of services charged are class C felonies. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney General Glenn R. Funk of Davidson County.
In the third case, a Dekalb County Man was charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services.
Grant Lynch, of Smithville, Tennessee was charged with two Class D felonies in Putnam County, his former residence.
Investigators allege that Lynch reported to the state that he had custody of his child so that the child would be eligible for TennCare. As a result, TennCare paid approximately $2,800 in fees and claims on behalf of the child.
“Providing false information in order to receive TennCare benefits will not be tolerated in the state of Tennessee,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “Our agency works diligently to save both state and federal Medicaid dollars from being stolen.”
The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Bryant C. Dunaway of Putnam County.
The fourth case involved a Rutherford County woman who eluded authorities for a year and eventually made the TennCare fraud “Most Wanted” list.
Investigators say Maura Barrera of Lavergne failed to report her employment and income, and as a result, TennCare paid more than $34,600 in health care services fees and claims for her and her children.
She was indicted in March of last year and was added in January to the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) most wanted list. A break in the case came when Barrera agreed to a background check as part of a job application. She turned herself in to authorities.
“The TennCare program is designed to help those who rightfully qualify for benefits based on very specific qualifications, including income thresholds,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “The OIG continues to identify and investigate people mispresenting their circumstances in order to receive TennCare benefits fraudulently.”
District Attorney General Jennings H. Jones of Rutherford County is prosecuting.
In the fifth case, reported on March 30th, a man from Lincoln County, Tennessee was charged with TennCare fraud in connection with allegedly reselling prescription pills obtained through the healthcare insurance program.
In addition to TennCare fraud, Steven Wayne Carte of Petersburg is also charged with delivery of a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug, which are both class C felonies. The charges allege that Carte used TennCare to obtain the painkiller Oxycodon and then sold the pills to an undercover agent.
“We appreciate our partners at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, as their work helps us stop abuse in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “The OIG hopes to continue these strong established relationships to ensure that dangerous drugs are not being sold illegally in our communities, especially at the expense of public dollars.”
The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney General Robert J. Carter of Lincoln County.
And for the sixth and final reported case of TennCare fraud in March, a woman living in Rossville, Georgia was charged with fraud for allegedly reporting she lived in Tennessee for the purpose of obtaining healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare.
With the assistance of sheriff’s departments in Hamilton County, TN and Walker County, GA, Tracy Farthing was arrested with charges of TennCare fraud and theft of services.
Investigators allege that Farthing resided in Georgia when she reported a Tennessee address to TennCare for the purpose of obtaining health care services through TennCare. As a result, TennCare paid more than $8,470 in fees and claims on behalf of Farthing and her son.
“We appreciate the efforts of sheriff’s officers in Tennessee and Georgia in this arrest,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “Their collaborative efforts with our office help us make sure state and federal dollars in TennCare are reserved for Tennesseans.”
The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney General Neal Pinkston of Hamilton County.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated more than 5,760 criminal cases leading to more than $10.8 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 3,107 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
The OIG’s most wanted for TennCare fraud are posted online at https://www.tn.gov/finance/fa-oig/fa-oig-most-wanted.html. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is urged to use the contact information on the page.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982, toll-free or by logging on to www.tn.gov/oig/ and following the prompts that read “Report TennCare fraud.”