White-Collar Crime

Lawyer Accused of Misusing IDs of Terminally Ill in $30M Investment Scheme Takes Plea

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As testimony was about to resume Monday in a federal trial that had been expected to continue for months, a Rhode Island estate planning lawyer and a former employee accused of misusing the identities of dying individuals in a $30 million investment scheme both took a plea.

Attorney Joseph Caramadre, 50, and Raymour Radhakrishnan, 28, pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Providence, the Associated Press reports.

They had faced a 66-count indictment, and Caramadre also had been charged with witness tampering. Under a plea agreement, they could get as much as 10 years when they are sentenced in February.

The two allegedly used various methods to obtain the identities of terminally persons, often paying them in exchange for using their names to invest in insurance company products that paid a death benefit. However, prosecutors contended that the defendants didn’t obtain informed consent from the individuals who were the purported beneficiaries of the investments.

“Today’s message is that greed is not good,” said Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha after the court hearing.

The article doesn’t include any comment from the defendants or their legal counsel. However, a spokesman for Caramadre in a written statement that the attorney “has made a decision that acceptance of this plea agreement is in his best interests and the best interests of his family.”

Earlier coverage:

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

Providence Journal: “Caramadre trial: North Kingstown man testifies he has no idea how his ailing wife signed for investments”

Providence Journal: “RI Catholic newspaper ad salesman testifies about misgivings on Caramadre’s ad”

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