Former Tennesseean now in Mississippi charged with TennCare fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDEF) – A Mississippi woman is charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare healthcare by falsely claiming minor children as dependents in order to qualify for the state program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Tate and Shelby County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrest of Kristin Pinion, also known as Kristin Sandridge, 35, of Coldwater, Mississippi. She is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services.
An indictment is Shelby County accuses Pinion of claiming to the state that she had two minor children in her home. Without a dependent, she would not have been eligible for TennCare. During this time, Pinion was a resident of Collierville, Tennessee.
“People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to, and they’re taking it from taxpayers,” Inspector General Manny Tydall said, “Stealing from the state in this way is highly likely to result in felony criminal prosecution.”
District Attorney General Amp P. Weinch is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 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, 2,796 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
*Photo by Office of Inspector General via Lola Potter