White-Collar Crime

Estate lawyer asks to revoke plea, now wants trial in $30M elder insurance fraud case


A Rhode Island estate planning lawyer is seeking to revoke the plea agreement he made last year near the outset of what was expected to be a lengthy trial in a controversial $30 million fraud case.

Supporters said attorney Joseph Caramadre did nothing wrong by using the identities of elderly and ailing persons to purchase complex insurance products that paid a death benefit but didn’t require medical exams. However, federal prosecutors contended that he didn’t obtain informed consent from the individuals who were the purported beneficiaries of the investments, among other allegations.

Facing an indictment containing dozens of counts and a witness-tampering charge, Caramadre pleaded guilty in November to one count each of wire fraud and conspiracy soon after his trial began in Providence. But he now wants to revoke his plea, saying that he is innocent and should have fought the conviction, reports the Associated Press.

“When I pled guilty in November, I did so relying on the advice of my lawyers, and because as a husband and a father I hoped the immediate end of the trial would alleviate the serious health issues that several members of my family were experiencing as a result of the trial,” said Caramadre in a written statement provided to the Providence Journal. Nonetheless, he now says, that was the wrong decision.

Another Providence Journal article provides additional details.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday. Caramadre, who is scheduled to be sentenced in February, faces up to 10 years under the counts to which he pleaded guilty, if he is not allowed to revoke his plea and take the case to trial.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Trial Begins for Estate Planning Lawyer Who Bought Annuities for the Dying; Was His Idea Legal?”

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