In Latest Opinion in Long-Running Series of Lawsuits Over Stranger-Originated Annuity Transactions, Rhode Island Court Grants Insurers’ Request for Restitution

In Latest Opinion in Long-Running Series of Lawsuits Over Stranger-Originated Annuity Transactions, Rhode Island Court Grants Insurers’ Request for Restitution

For years, the story of Joseph Caramadre’s stranger-originated annuity transactions have been told and re-told in lawsuits in Rhode Island state courts and federal courts in the First Circuit.

In fact, the latest opinion in such a lawsuit starts with this Rhode Island federal court Chief Judge William E. Smith saying that “Joseph Caramadre’s stranger-initiated annuity transaction (‘STAT’) schemes have been described at length not only by this Court, but also by the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Rhode Island Supreme Court” and that Judge Smith’s opinion “assumes that the reader is familiar with Caramadre’s STAT scheme, as well as the criminal charges and civil litigation it has generated.” Transamerica Life Ins. Co. v. Caramadre, C.A. No. 09-470-S, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27150 (D. R.I. Feb. 27, 2017).

Judge Smith then describes how Caramadre and another defendant, Raymour Radhakrishnan, were deemed to have admitted the statement of undisputed facts provided by Plaintiffs Transamerica Life Insurance Company and Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio. The reason? The defendants failed to timely file a statement of disputed facts.

The deemed-admitted-facts included, among other statements, that the plaintiffs “were two of several insurance companies to whom Defendants submitted annuity applications using terminally-ill individuals as annuitants”, that the Defendants “admitted to ‘knowingly and willfully conspiring with each other and with others to commie’ mail fraud, wire fraud, and identity fraud, in violation of federal law”, and further that the Defendants “also admitted that they ‘fraudulently obtained millions of dollars by making . . . material misrepresentations and omissions to terminally-ill people . . . in order to obtain identity information and signatures for use in furtherance of the scheme.”

The Defendants also acknowledged that the Plaintiffs “were acknowledged as victims of Defendants’ scheme,” that “Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of
 Ohio. . . is entitled to $1,102,464.28 in restitution”, and that “Transamerica Life Insurance Company is entitled to $805,926.18 in restitution.”

Chief Judge Smith then noted that Rhode Island General Laws § 9-1-2 provides, in relevant part, that “[w]heneverany person shall suffer any injury to his or her person, reputation, or estate by reason of the commission of any crime or offense, he or she may recover his or her damages for the injury in a civil action against the offender” – a statute that “clearly enables Plaintiffs to recover the monetary damages incurred as a result of Caramadre and Radhakrishnan’s conduct.”

Accordingly, the court concluded that Caramadre and Radhakrishnan “are civilly liable to Plaintiffs for the criminal conduct to which they admitted as part of the plea agreement.”

Because, however, the Plaintiffs’ claims represent “only a portion of the Plaintiffs’ restitution count of their complaint, and because that claim also relates to broad claims of “civil liability for several state and federal crimes and offenses allegedly perpetrated by five of the seven defendants,” Judge Smith said that the two Plaintiffs “are therefore entitled only to judgment as a matter of law with respect to the civil liability of Caramadre and Radhakrishnan.”

The full opinion, which also addresses other issues, is available here.

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