Elusive Fraudster Gets Caught

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Calculator and stethoscope on paperwork

Fraudsters tend to think they will never be caught or prosecuted for committing a crime. They could not be more wrong. A Rutherford, Tenn., woman went on the lam to avoid being charged with TennCare fraud. She eluded law enforcement for a year and eventually made the TennCare fraud “Most Wanted” list. (Definitely not an accomplishment that anyone would ever be proud of.)

Maura Barrera, 37, was eventually caught and charged with TennCare fraud, a class D felony. (Authorities were lucky when the fraudster agreed to a background check as part of a job application. Fortunately, she did the right thing and turned herself in.) She was also charged with a class C felony – theft of services over $10,000 but under $60,000.

Barrera’s charges stemmed from a failure to report her employment and income. (She didn’t want to reveal her true employment status or household income because she would not have been able to participate in the state’s healthcare insurance programs.) This caused TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, to shell out more than $34,600 for health care service fees for her children and herself. Barrera was eventually convicted of TennCare fraud and must repay the state $34,621.18 in benefits she unlawfully collected.

Congratulations to the Tennessee Office of Inspector General for adding this closed case to more than 5,760 criminal cases leading to more than $10.8 million in repayments to TennCare since 2005. Barrera is no longer on the “Most Wanted” list but is now included in a statistic that no one with a conscience would want to be a part of. She is now considered to be one of 3,137 people who have been charged with TennCare fraud to date.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Rutherford Co. Woman Must Repay State in TennCare Fraud Case,” published by Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration on September 23, 2021.

NASHVILLE – A Rutherford county woman is ordered to repay the state after appearing in court on charges involving TennCare fraud.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced sentencing in Rutherford County for 37-year-old Maura Barrera. She was convicted of TennCare fraud and theft of property for failing to report her true employment status and household income so she could remain on the state’s healthcare insurance programs.

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.