Cheri Cavitt-Burks

Cheri Cavitt-Burks

A woman from Southaven has been charged in Tennessee with fraud against that state’s taxpayer-funded healthcare insurance program called TennCare. 

The Tennessee Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported that Cheri Cavitt-Burks, age 35 of Southaven, has been arrested on charges that she falsely reported her residence in order to obtain benefits from the Tennessee state program.

According to information from the OIG, Cavitt-Burks was arrested after an investigation by the U.S. Marshal’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

A Shelby County indictment charges Cavitt-Burks with TennCare fraud and theft of services over $250,000. The charges say she fraudulently reported her residency as Tennessee and her family composition in order to appear eligible for TennCare, when she actually lives in Southaven.

"Lying about one’s residence in order to receive TennCare benefits is a crime we pursue on a daily basis,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “We work diligently to preserve TennCare benefits for its intentional use. We welcome information of anyone abusing the system.”

TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Theft of property over $250,000 is a Class B felony punishable by up to 12 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, 2,988 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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