Three moms in Mississippi are looking at up to 20 years in prison for allegedly lying about where they lived
Three mothers face prison time for allegedly using false addresses in order to obtain health care benefits for their children.
The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, reports the three separate incidents of fraud. The Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Shelby County sheriff, and the Desoto County sheriff collaborated on the arrest of 47-year-old Nakina Brooks who they claim falsely reported a Tennesee address while living in Mississippi to maintain TennCare benefits for herself and her son.
According to the report, over $5K in claims was paid out to Brooks.
“The OIG would like to recognize the joint effort of both the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and the Desoto County Mississippi Sheriff’s Office,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “We hope to continue these strong established relationships to ensure that people who commit TennCare fraud are brought to justice.”
The office reports the similar cases of 34-year-old Nikki Carr and 49-year-old Nancy Smith, both of Olive Branch, Mississippi. According to the department, Carr faces charges of TennCare fraud and theft of property. Allegedly, over $6K in fees and claims were paid out on behalf of the Carr family.
Smith, is accused of fraudulently enrolling her children in TennCare, resulting in government-funded health insurance paying more than $24K in claims and benefits.
All three cases are being prosecuted by District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich of Shelby County. Committing TennCare fraud is a class D felony and theft of property over $10K, but under $60K is considered a class C felony in the state of Tennessee. If convicted, Carr and Brooks face up to 24 years in prison, while Smith is looking at up to 27.
The OIG “has investigated over 5,760 criminal cases leading to more than $10.8M being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6M for TennCare, according to the latest figures. To date, 3,087 people have been charged with TennCare fraud,” the state says.
According to the TennCare website, the Medicaid program provides healthcare to low-income pregnant women, parents or caretakers of a minor child, children and individuals who are elderly or have a disability, all meeting specific income requirements. There is also a limited resource requirement that notes possessions such as bank accounts, cars, and land.
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