Terence McAuliffe, the former chairman of the national Democratic Party and current Virginia gubernatorial candidate, was one of hundreds of people who invested in variable annuities that used terminally ill patients as the annuitants.
McAuliffe and others became owners of the investment instruments through Cranston estate planner Joseph Caramadre. Caramadre pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of terminally ill patients and using that information to falsely apply for annuities and bonds with death puts.
Prosecutors said Caramadre cost insurance companies between $37 million and $48 million from the scheme.
Caramadre, with the help of a partner, would use personal information from terminally ill patients on investment applications that contained death benefits. The actual owners of the annuity would be Caramadre or hundreds of investors. In exchange for the personal information, Caramadre often times would help the families of the terminally ill to pay for funeral expenses.
Besides McAuliffe, Robert Flanders, a former justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, is on the investment list. Gaythorne "Poochie" Angell, a long-time bookie and mob associate, was also an investor, along with Monsignor Raymond Bastia, who handles financial planning for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.
There is no evidence that the investors knew that Caramadre was stealing the identities of the terminally ill patients.
"The investment was for a retirementfund for my prior law firm, and I absolutely did not know Caramadre wasstealing the identity of terminally ill patients," Flanders told the I-Team.
Caramadre's use of unrelated owners of the annuities was legal.
Caramadre and his partner have pleaded guilty to the investment scheme. Prosecutors said Caramadre made millions.
Caramadre is being held at the Wyatt Detention Center and has yet to be sentenced.