August 12, 2016 |
Bogus insurance. Fraudulent registrations. Stolen cars disguised and resold to unsuspecting customers. Those were some of the tactics prosecutors say were used by dozens of people and three corporations in what they described as an auto-theft and insurance-fraud ring that operated in Philadelphia for years. "This was a massive criminal enterprise," District Attorney Seth Williams said Wednesday as he announced charges against 32 people. Assistant District Attorney Linda Montag, who oversaw the investigation, described the ring as "a detailed, intricate criminal organization with many moving parts," allowing coconspirators to generate tens of thousands of dollars in profits.
June 12, 2016
A judge ruled Friday that Claire Risoldi, the Bucks County matriarch accused of multimillion-dollar insurance fraud, violated a court order that she not contact possible witnesses in her upcoming trial. Chester County Court Judge Thomas Gavin sentenced her to 30 days in prison for criminal contempt, but she has not yet been jailed because her attorney, Jack McMahon, has appealed. Gavin found Risoldi had used subpoenas to contact witnesses against his order. Prosecutors allege she used the subpoenas, issued by McMahon, to intimidate witnesses who testified in the grand jury investigation that led to her arrest on fraud charges in January 2015.
June 11, 2016 |
A judge ruled Thursday that Claire Risoldi, the Bucks County matriarch already accused of multimillion-dollar insurance fraud, should be held for trial on witness-intimidation charges. "There's enough evidence to go to a jury," District Judge Gary Gambardella said after the six-hour preliminary hearing in Doylestown, and after rejecting a defense request that he recuse himself. State prosecutors allege that Risoldi used a subpoena, issued by her attorney, Jack McMahon, to influence witnesses who testified in the grand jury investigation that led to Risoldi's arrest on fraud charges in January 2015.
June 3, 2016 |
Claire Risoldi, the Bucks County matriarch accused of multimillion-dollar insurance fraud, was jailed Wednesday after being arrested again on witness-intimidation charges. State prosecutors contend Risoldi used a subpoena, issued by her lawyer, to influence witnesses who testified in a grand jury investigation that led to Risoldi's arrest on fraud charges in January 2015. "Our system of justice depends on witnesses being free to testify without fear of intimidation or retaliation," Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said in a statement.
February 10, 2016 |
A judge on Monday rejected a request by prosecutors to revoke bail and jail a prominent Bucks County woman awaiting trial on charges of insurance fraud. Prosecutors claimed that Claire Risoldi, 68, who is accused of inflating insurance claims to financing a lavish lifestyle, again tried to intimidate a witness in her upcoming trial - an accusation they have made four times since her January 2015 arrest. Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Gavin, who is hearing the case because of Risoldi's local ties, rejected the request.
January 31, 2016 |
Two central Pennsylvania men have been indicted in the baseball-bat beating death of a Delaware man in an apparent scheme to collect his life insurance money. A New Castle County, Del., grand jury indicted Ryan Shover, 44, of York, Pa., and Michael Kman, 51, of Enola, Pa., on charges of first-degree murder, insurance fraud and related offenses for the 2013 death of Wayne Cappelli, 43, of Claymont, Del. Cappelli was found dead in a roadside ditch in Brandywine Hundred, Del., on Feb. 18, 2013, with severe injuries all over his body.
January 13, 2016 |
The former owner of the historic Bucks County Playhouse was sentenced Monday to 21/2 years in prison after collecting about $240,000 from bogus insurance claims he made on behalf of the theater and attempting the same tactic for a second theater he owned. Ralph Miller, 69, of New Hope, was convicted of money laundering and mail fraud in May by a federal jury in Philadelphia. In sentencing Miller, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe called him a "charlatan" and "snake oil salesman," according to Assistant U.S. Attorney K.T. Newton.
December 4, 2015 |
PHILADELPHIA District Attorney Seth Williams yesterday finally took action against three prosecutors at the center of the so-called Porngate scandal, reassigning them to lower-profile units amid repeated calls for their termination. Because, sometimes, "sensitivity training" just isn't enough. Frank Fina, once a star public-corruption prosecutor, will move from the special-investigations unit to the civil-litigation unit. His colleague Marc Costanzo will be transferred from special investigations to appeals, and Patrick Blessington will be transferred from insurance fraud to the post-conviction-relief-act unit.
April 9, 2015 |
Over three months, Claire Risoldi's jewelry collection - and its insurance policy - ballooned from a couple of pieces worth $100,000 to 52 items worth about $11 million. Weeks later, the Risoldi family's Bucks County mansion caught fire for the third time in three years. The collection disappeared, and Risoldi allegedly claimed that firefighters were to blame. Testifying for the second day in a Bucks County courtroom on Tuesday, insurance adjuster James O'Keefe noted the insurance policy's rapid increase and said insurer AIG would eventually deny the $11 million claim under the belief it was fraudulent.
April 1, 2015 |
The body-shop owner allegedly drove cars into poles and damaged them with forklifts - right across the street from the Darby Borough police station - in a scam to collect inflated claims from insurance companies. On Monday, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced charges in a four-year investigation into the elaborate scheme that cost companies at least $85,000 and involved 11 individuals. Whelan said he expected to uncover further instances in the fraud scheme, adding, "We'd be naive to think this is the only amount of activity.