News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: May 12, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Poizner Announces Prunedale Woman Ordered To Pay $40,000 Restitution For Insurance Fraud, Perjury And Elder Abuse
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced the sentencing of a Prunedale (Monterey County) woman who pled guilty to insurance fraud, perjury and financial elder abuse. Teresa Anne Lee, 45, was sentenced to 365 days in county jail and ordered to pay close to $40,000 in restitution and court fees. She will serve 36 months probation and is prohibited from seeking employment where she would have access to others' money or funds.
"Impersonating seniors to steal their money, lying under oath and committing insurance fraud are crimes that the Department of Insurance does not take lightly, and anyone who breaks the law in this way will find themselves behind bars," said Commissioner Poizner.
Lee was arrested December 9, 2009 on suspicion of committing workers' compensation insurance fraud, financial elder abuse and grand theft. On March 3, 2010, she pled guilty to insurance fraud, perjury and financial elder abuse. She was sentenced on May 5.
A California Department of Insurance investigation revealed that Lee, facing imminent firing from her employer at the Surf Side Apartments in Santa Cruz, CA, submitted a workers' compensation claim to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), claiming she fell from a ladder on October 28, 2008. Through the investigation, it was determined that Lee faked her injury in an effort to obtain monetary benefits.
According to SCIF, Lee received more than $13,430 in total temporary disability payments and $6,912 for medical treatments.
The CDI investigation also revealed that Lee portrayed herself as a relative of the owner of the apartment complex to get rental payments and deposits in her name. Lee allegedly collected $900 from three tenants, cashed the checks and pocketed the money. Lee also allegedly used the name of the elderly owner to obtain utility services for her unit. Upon leaving the Surf Side Apartments, Lee took petty cash and parking permit funds, totaling $220. The owner of the apartment complex estimates that Lee's tenure as apartment manager has cost him $1,514.86.
The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office prosecuted this case.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Nearly 2,800 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by CDI since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other three year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
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