Con­victed ex-lawyer fighting to re­gain for­feited resti­tu­tion

Cara­madre re­paid $4,717 of $46M or­dered by judge


PROV­I­DENCE — A for­mer lawyer who mas­ter­minded a $46 mil­lion in­vest­ment scheme ex­ploit­ing terminally ill peo­ple is fighting the govern­ment's at­tempt to re­cover some of the money he's been or­dered to pay back.

Joseph Cara­madre, who's cur­rently serv­ing time in a fed­eral prison in Mas­sachusetts, ap­peared in U.S. District Court in Prov­i­dence via video­con­fer­ence on Thurs­day. He was or­dered in 2014 to pay $46 mil­lion resti­tu­tion to com­pa­nies that lost money in the scheme.

The govern­ment said in a court fil­ing last year that Cara­madre had paid back just $4,717.69 of that amount. Act­ing U.S. At­tor­ney Stephen Dam­bruch said Thurs­day his of­fice could not dis­close whether any other pay­ments had been made.

Cara­madre told the judge on Thurs­day that the govern­ment does not have the right to gar­nish sev­eral in­sur­ance and an­nu­ity ac­counts in his name. Among the rea­sons he gave was that he has been or­dered to pay al­imony to his wife un­der the terms of an ini­tial di­vorce de­cree.

One of the ac­counts at is­sue is a $600,000 life in­sur­ance pol­icy on his fa­ther, into which Cara­madre said he and his sib­lings had paid $500,000 in pre­mi­ums. He said gar­nish­ing the ac­count would be a "gross in­jus­tice" to his sib­lings.

Cara­madre main­tained that the ac­counts would have lit­tle value if the govern­ment cashed them in.

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Mary Rogers pushed back, say­ing Cara­madre pro­vided noth­ing to sub­stan­ti­ate his claims.

"The gist of his ar­gu­ment seems to be, 'You're not go­ing to make much, and my fam­ily needs it,'" Rogers said.

As part of the scheme, Cara­madre would take out bonds and an­nu­ities with per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of terminally ill peo­ple, then col­lect when they died. Among the in­vestors were Terry McAuliffe, now gover­nor of Vir­ginia, and U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin. There is no ev­i­dence that ei­ther man knew it was il­le­gal. Both later do­nated the money to char­ity.

Cara­madre pleaded guilty to wire fraud and con­spir­acy in 2013, but then re­nounced his plea and tried un­suc­cess­fully to take it back, say­ing he was in­no­cent and had re­ceived an in­ad­e­quate de­fense. He was sen­tenced to six years in prison. He said in court Thurs­day that he ex­pected to be out in four-and-a-half months.

The judge did not is­sue a rul­ing, but said he would make a de­ci­sion af­ter get­ting more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing about Cara­madre's soon-to-be-ex-wife and her right to any money.

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