NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Mississippi woman has been charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property across state lines.

Starlotte Smith, 60, is accused of failing to inform TennCare that she moved out of state, according to the release by the Department of Finance and Administration. The Office of the Inspector General in a joint effort with the Shelby County Sheriff’s office investigated Smith’s case.

Starlotte Smith mugshot
(Courtesy of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

The Department of Finance and Administration said that Smith allegedly continued to use the health insurance services for her and her daughter, resulting in TennCare paying more than $49,300 in fees and claims on their behalf.

“This case is another example of how Tennessean taxpayer dollars are diverted by those who break the rules and commit crimes against TennCare,” Inspector General Chad Holman said.  “We will continue to hold accountable people who abuse the TennCare system.”

Smith’s case is being prosecuted by the Shelby County District Attorney General, Amy Weirich. The TennCare fraud is a class D felony, while the theft of property charge is a class C felony.

TennCare is funded by federal and state dollars. The Office of the Inspector General, which is separate from TennCare, began operating in February 2005 and has investigated over 130,000 cases, leading to $9.2 million being repaid to TennCare. In the last year alone, ending June 30, 2021, the total cost avoidance estimated for TennCare was $7.5 million.