Newport man charged with TennCare fraud

COCKE COUNTY – An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Medicaid Fraud Control Division has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a Newport man.

In September 2023, TBI received information from the Department of Intellectual Development and Disabilities regarding fraudulent billing for TennCare services by a care provider. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that between December 2022 and September 2023, Reese Thornton, while being paid by a TennCare-managed contractor to serve as a caregiver for an adult relative, submitted claims for services never provided.

Today, the Cocke County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Reese Thornton (DOB: 5/22/51) with one count of TennCare Fraud, one count of Theft over $1,000, and one count of Violation of the Tennessee Personal and Commercial Computer Act. This afternoon, with the assistance of the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, he was arrested and booked into the Cocke County Jail on a $7,500 bond.

The TBI’s Medicaid Fraud Control Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $8,983,614.75 for federal Fiscal Year 2023-2024. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,994,538.25 for Fiscal Year 2023-2024, is funded by the State of Tennessee.