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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 71 Welfare

Chapter 1 Administration

Part 1 Department of Human Services

71-1-133. Child care services fraud; restitution; civil recovery of overpayments.

(a) (1) Whoever knowingly obtains, or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any person or entity to obtain or attempt to obtain, by means of a willfully false statement or representation or by impersonation, or by any fraudulent scheme, any child care services, or payments for child care services, that are provided under any program by the department of human services or by or through any of the department's grantees or contractors, to which such person or entity is not entitled, or of a value greater than that to which such person or entity is entitled, the value of which is, or would be, one hundred ($100) or more, commits a Class E felony. Upon conviction, such person shall be sentenced for such offense as provided by law, or shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.

(2) If the value of child care services or the payment for such services obtained in the manner described in subdivision (a)(1) is, or would be, less than one hundred dollars ($100), such person commits a Class A misdemeanor and shall be sentenced for such offense, or shall be fined, or both, as provided by law.

(b) In addition to any of the penalties pursuant to subsection (a), any person convicted of any offense specified in subsection (a) shall be ordered to make restitution in the total amount found to be the value of the child care services that form the basis for the conviction. In the event any person ordered to make restitution pursuant to this section is found to be indigent and, therefore, unable to make restitution in full at the time of conviction, the court shall order a periodic payment plan consistent with the person's financial ability.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, prosecutions for any of the offenses specified in subsection (a) shall be commenced within four (4) years next after the commission of the offense. For purposes of this subsection (c), any such offense that is based upon a willful failure to report information as required by law or by any program requirements relating to eligibility for child care services is considered a continuing offense until such information is reported.

(d) The department may recover by civil action in any appropriate court the value of child care services that have been incorrectly paid to or received by any person or any entity and the costs of the proceeding and reasonable attorneys fees necessary for collection.

(e) (1) For purposes of this section, “child care” means the supervision, protection, and provision for the basic physical, developmental or emotional needs of a child, or evidence of any effort to provide for, or any apparent or stated intent to provide for, the supervision, protection, and basic physical, developmental or emotional needs of a child by any person or entity outside the child's own home or by a person who comes to the child's home, whether or not the person or entity is licensed to provide such care or is unregulated.

(2) For purposes of this section “services” means the payment for, or provision by, the department, its grantees or its contractors of:

(A) Any costs of, or any fees for, child care provided by any person or entity;

(B) Any transportation costs or any transportation fees for the child to obtain child care or any related child care services; or

(C) Any food supplement or meal assistance programs, excluding the food stamp or food assistance program under chapter 5, part 3 of this title, for a child who is receiving child care.

Acts 2000, ch. 923, § 1.

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