News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: December 9, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Arrest of Prunedale Woman on Workers' Compensation Fraud, Elder Abuse Charges
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Teresa Anne Lee, 45, of Prunedale was arrested Dec. 9 on suspicion of committing workers' compensation insurance fraud, financial elder abuse and grand theft. She faces as many as five years in prison if convicted on all five charges.
"Workers' compensation fraud is not a victimless crime," Commissioner Poizner said. "Insurance premiums rise to cover the cost of fraud and that means business owners across the state are charged more and have to hire less. Our department will find these suspects, arrest them and see that they are prosecuted and punished."
A California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigation alleges that Lee submitted a false workers' compensation claim to the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) saying she fell off a ladder while employed at a Santa Cruz apartment complex. The investigation alleges that Lee faked her injury to obtain money.
According to SCIF, Lee has received more than $13,430 in total temporary disability payments and $6,912 for medical treatments.
The CDI investigation also revealed that Lee allegedly portrayed herself as a relative of the apartment complex's owner to get rentals payments and deposits in her name. Lee allegedly collected $900 from three tenants, cashed the checks and used the money for her own personal use. It also is alleged that Lee used the name of the elderly owner to obtain utility services for her unit.
Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 1,900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's enforcement division since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two-year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
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