Local woman indicted on fraud charge

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Lewisburg woman has been indicted in Pulaski on a charge of TennCare fraud for allegedly making a false statement in connection with medical services.

Lisa A. Killen, 42, was named last week by the Office of Inspector General as part of its continuing program of publicizing misuse of the state-funded medical insurance program.

Officers with the Inspector General's Office obtained the indictment from the Giles County Grand Jury. Such cases are usually only revealed after an arrest because, according to Giles County Assistant District Attorney Richard Dunavant, they're typically original, or sealed indictments. That means there's no arrest warrant and the state officers by-passed the General Sessions Court, taking the case directly to the grand jury.

Lisa Potter, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said all she could report was that Killen was indicted on "one count of TennCare fraud for willfully making a false statement."

In an unrelated case nearby, the Inspector General's Office reports that Kathy L. Potts, 45, of Giles County, is accused of TennCare fraud for using benefits to pay for a forged prescription for the addictive painkiller Hydrocodone.

Potts was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The Maury County Sheriff's Office assisted in her arrest.

District Attorney General Mike Bottoms' office will prosecute both cases. Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

"With the help of local officers and healthcare providers, we are waging war on TennCare fraud of any kind, from prescription drug fraud to folks who aren't truthful about their employment, income, or other status," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "We appreciate the providers, local law enforcement officials and citizens who provide us with valuable information in our efforts to identify and prosecute TennCare fraud."

The OIG is a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare. It was started nearly four years ago and has dealt with cases leading to the arrest of more than 860 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare. It's estimated by the state that more than $122 million in unnecessary costs have been avoided in connection with TennCare because of the program.

That program includes the Cash for Tips Program established by state lawmakers. Cash rewards are paid for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Tips are accepted through calls to 1-800-433-3982 or by use of the state's web site: www.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov. Follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."