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Life Health > Annuities

RI estate lawyer says he's innocent in death fraud

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An estate planning lawyer who pleaded guilty to using the identities of terminally ill people to obtain tens of millions of dollars has told a federal judge he is innocent and entitled to his day in court.

Joseph Caramadre is trying to change his plea back to not guilty in the case, arguing he was pressured to plead guilty by his lawyers. A judge is hearing arguments Monday.

His former lawyer, Michael Lepizzera, testified he was shocked when Caramadre admitted to him that he had an employee invest in his own name in an annuity for which Caramadre had previously been denied. He said it was a crucial point in the government’s money-laundering charge, and it indicated the nature of the larger scheme.