A DeSoto County woman has been ordered to pay TennCare more than $250,000 in a fraud case in Tennessee.
Cheri Cavitt, age 36 of Southaven, was convicted of fraudulently reporting that she lived in Tennessee, when she actually resided in Mississippi. Cavitt was charged with the fraud report in order to claim healthcare benefits under the TennCare program. She was also accused of misrepresenting her household information for the program.
The figure amounting to more than $250,000 is the largest monetary amount ever ordered in a TennCare fraud case with the Tennessee Office of Inspector General since it started investigating fraud cases in 2004.
During a court hearing on a Class A theft of property charge, Cavitt pled guilty to a Class C theft of property charge.
Cavitt was given 10 years of judicial diversion and ordered to pay back to TennCare the sum of $258,303.64.
“Lying about one’s residence in order to receive TennCare benefits is a crime that can yield long-term criminal consequences,” said Inspector General Kim Harmon. “We work vigorously to preserve TennCare benefits for people who are eligible for the program and anyone who has information about someone abusing the system can reach out to us anonymously by phone or on the web.”
Cavitt’s case dates back to May 2018 when she was arrested and charged in Shelby County, Tennessee with TennCare fraud and felony theft of property exceeding $250,000.
Officials say she reported that she lived in Tennessee but actually lived in Southaven.
Cavitt also failed to report a marriage, done also to appear eligible for TennCare.
TennCare is the Tennessee Medicaid program and started in 1994 under a federal waiver that authorized deviations from the standard Medicaid rules. It was the first state Medicaid program to enroll all Medicaid recipients in managed care.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.