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A former Fairfield, Connecticut, attorney was sentenced in federal court Thursday to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his part in a life insurance scheme that netted him $272,000.

U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson handed down the sentence to 62-year-old David Quatrella, who pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Quatrella, who worked for Quatrella & Rizio until it disbanded in 2015, faced a maximum of five years in prison.

(Related: Judge Posner on Stranger-Oriented Life Insurance)

 

Quatrella argued in his sentencing memorandum that he should be spared prison time. The memo included comments from acquaintances and former employees. One woman wrote that Quatrella “gave me the opportunity to stay out on maternity leave longer when he found out my mother was dying so that I could be there for her and my dad.”

The government issued its sentencing memorandum 10 days later and argued Quatrella deserved jail time.

“He is now seeking a non-incarcerative sentence. But, such a sentence is wholly inadequate to reflect the seriousness of the offense, the multi-year nature of Mr. Quatrella’s involvement, his flagrant misuse of his position as an attorney to facilitate the crime, and his personal gain of $272,000 from the offense,” the memo said.

Quatrella must report to prison July 28.

Quatrella was charged with scamming insurance companies into issuing policies on the lives of the elderly to benefit himself and others.

According to documents and statements made in court, Quatrella engaged in a practice to “obtain money and property from the providers by means of materially false and fraudulent representations regarding the purpose of certain insurance policies, the presence of premium financing, and the intent of the applicant to sell the policy, in order to induce the providers to issue life insurance policies in reliance upon such false and misleading information.”

Quatrella, along with brokers in California, New Jersey and Florida, assisted elderly people in applying for multimillion-dollar life insurance policies for about seven and half years beginning in June 2008, according to court documents.

Quatrella offered people free life insurance for two years, after which he and his co-conspirators would attempt to sell the policy and provide a share of the proceeds back to the insured. The insured, according to the office of the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, were not obligated to pay anything and were usually told the premiums were borrowed from a third-party source.

Quatrella and others recruited investors to finance the payments of premiums of the life insurance policies, with the understanding the investors would earn a profit on the sale of the policy, according to the government.

Quatrella and his co-conspirators then submitted to various life insurance providers applications containing false and misleading information that failed to disclose the policies’ third-party premium funding arrangements. Quatrella and the others received large commissions from the providers as a result of the issuance of the insurances policies on the lives of the insured and Quatrella personally profited by nearly $300,000.

Andrew B. Bowman of the Law Offices of Andrew B. Bowman in Westport represented Quatrella. He declined to comment Friday.

The matter was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Avi M. Perry, an assistant U.S. attorney.

— Read 5 questions life insurers should ask to prevent fraud on ThinkAdvisor.