Newport man indicted following TennCare fraud investigation

An investigation carried out by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Medicaid Fraud Control Division has led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of a man from Newport.

In September 2023, the Department of Intellectual Development and Disabilities shared with TBI about fraudulent billing for TennCare services committed by a care provider. Throughout the investigation, agents gathered evidence that Reese Thornton, who was employed by a TennCare-managed contractor as a caregiver for a family member, had submitted claims for services that were never actually rendered between December 2022 and September 2023.

On Monday, Thornton, 72, was indicted by the Cocke County Grand Jury on charges of TennCare Fraud, Theft over $1,000, and Violation of the Tennessee Personal and Commercial Computer Act. The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office collaborated in his arrest, and he was subsequently booked into the Cocke County Jail. His bond was set at $7,500.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Division of the TBI is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They have received a grant award of $8,983,614.75 for the federal Fiscal Year 2023-2024, which accounts for 75% of their funding. The State of Tennessee also contributes to their funding, providing the remaining 25% which amounts to $2,994,538.25 for the same fiscal year.

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