L.A. Woman Pleads Guilty to Scamming State Farm for More than $9,600

August 11, 2005

A woman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve two years in state prison and ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution to State Farm Insurance Company following an investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI).

Paula Serese Teate, 35, pleaded guilty last month in Los Angeles Superior Court to one felony count of insurance fraud. She was also given a $200 parole revocation fine, a $200 fine and ordered to submit a DNA sample.

According to CDI investigators, Teate, a public relations director for Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles filed a bogus $9,616 claim with State Farm Insurance Company, in Culver City. Teate purportedly placed after-market custom tires and chrome wheels on her vehicle and claimed it was stolen from the parking lot of Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles Restaurant and subsequently destroyed by fire.

However, the salesperson at the store Teate claims to have purchased the after-market accessories stated he gave her a written quote only. The investigation showed Teate altered the quote to look like she bought the tires and chrome wheels when in fact she did not. Additionally, during the post prosecution phase of the investigation, it was revealed that the OZ Comanche wheels and tires she purportedly purchased in September 1999 hadn’t even been manufactured yet.

Investigators say Teate made inconsistent statements involving the alleged theft of her 1999 Cadillac Escalade, the purchase of the after-market custom tires, chrome wheels, her criminal and civil history and financial status.

Investigators also found Teate was delinquent in her vehicle lease payment and the lien-holder was in the process of repossessing her vehicle.

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