The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint effort with the Bristol Police Department, today announced the arrest of Samantha L. Marion, 37, of Bluff City. Marion is accused of falsely reporting her marital status in order to obtain TennCare benefits for herself and her two children, according to a news release.
Investigators say if she had correctly reported her husband’s income contribution to the household, she would not have been eligible for the program. The result, authorities say, is that TennCare paid $57,800.21 on their behalf.
“The Office of Inspector General is determined to investigate people who try to take advantage of Tennessee’s Medicaid program,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said in the news release. “We will continue to demonstrate a proven commitment through our diligent investigation process to ensure that our taxpayer’s money is being used properly.”
The theft of services charge is a class C felony, and the TennCare fraud charge is a class D felony. If convicted, Marion could face penalties up to a maximum of 27 years in prison, the news release states. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney General Barry Staubus of Sullivan County.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated over 5,760 criminal cases, leading to more than $10.8 million ordered in restitution to TennCare. This has helped lead to a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to the latest figures. To date, 3,141 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
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.”