published Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Hamilton County woman charged with TennCare fraud

A Chattanooga woman has been charged with TennCare fraud and identity theft by the State of Tennessee’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Deborah Faye Ellis, also known as Deborah Hanes, Deborah F. Lee, and Deborah Faye Lee, 58, was being held at the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia, and has been transported to Hamilton County, where she was served with the indictment, according to the OIG news release.

The Hamilton County Grand Jury charged Ellis with three counts of TennCare fraud and three counts of identity theft, and she is accused of assuming the identity of a TennCare recipient in order to illegally obtain medical treatment on three separate occasions, the release said.

Identity theft is a Class D felony with a maximum four year sentence per charge. Fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years per charge.

District Attorney General William H. Cox, III, will prosecute, the release said.

“Our mission is to protect the state’s Medicaid program from people trying to obtain benefits they’re not eligible to receive,” Acting Inspector General Robert White said in the release.

The OIG is separate from TennCare and has been in operation since 2005. To date, according to the release, 2,151 people have been charged by the OIG will TennCare fraud.

If you suspect TennCare fraud you are asked to contact 1-800-433-3982, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”

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