CEO of Estate Planning Firm Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Dying Patients
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UPDATED: Nov 21, 2012
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The president and CEO of Rhode Island-based Estate Planning Resources firm, Attorney Joseph A. Caramadre, along with his employee, Raymour Radhakrishnan, are being charged in a district court for multiple counts of fraud. Caramadre and Radhakrishnan both pleaded guilty to scheming and stealing millions of dollars by using the identities of terminally ill clients to fraudulently claim insurance and bonds, according to this FBI report.
Details of the Crime
Early in his career, according to the lawsuit, Caramadre began making investments and purchasing annuities with guaranteed death benefits using the names of client investors, friends, and family members. Then in 2006, he began using what are know as “death-put bonds” to steal from those investments he made in connection with terminally ill individuals. The death-put bond can allow a bondholder to collect before the maturity date if the bond co-holder dies.
Perhaps the most discomforting element of his crime is the manner in which Caramadre tracked down his victims. According to reports, he would solicit terminally ill patients to buy life insurance by visiting a House of Compassion, where those with AIDS can go for help and resources. He would also use various avenues to find family members of dying individuals, both elderly and sick, and approach them about insurance. Caramadre would even take out newspaper advertisements promising money and assistance for those in need.
The other defendant, 28-year-old Raymour Radhakrishnan, who began working for Estate Planning Resources in 2007, was hired specifically to organize and meet with those who responded to Caramadre’s ads. Radhakrishnan was tasked with collecting their personal information in order to start annuities and brokerage accounts for his and Caramadre’s own gain. The two forged signatures, lied to unsuspecting patients and their families to gain signatures, and purchased death-put bonds through more than 200 fraudulent variable annuities and 75 brokerage accounts. The defendants profited in large amounts from the deaths of hundreds of terminally ill individuals and their families.
According to news reports, the crime was investigated by several agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and IRS Criminal Investigations.
This type of financial fraud is taken more seriously than ever before in the United States. Since widespread cases of insurance, mortgage and other bond and loan criminal schemes by American financial corporations have been exposed, the federal government has initiated aggressive efforts to prosecute these activities. Investigations and enforcement of financial crimes are overseen by specific government task forces.
“Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The Obama Administration’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) has significantly increased efforts on the federal, state and local level to bring down financial criminals like Caramadre and Radhkrishnan.
Caramadre and Radhakrishnan are scheduled to be sentenced by a U.S. District Court in Providence, Rhode Island in February, 2013.