The Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, was named as one of dozens who invested in a Rhode Island estate planner, who is now charged with defrauding insurers.
The estate planning firm defrauded insurers by using the stolen identities of terminally ill people, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors in Providence. McAuliffe’s name appeared on a long list, including a former Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, a Roman Catholic monsignor, a former Cranston, R.I. police chief, a bookmaker and Joseph A. Caramadre, who is the attorney and accountant who obtained the identities of dying people to set up annuities that ultimately cost insurance companies millions of dollars.
Even though McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said he was a “passive investor” who was deceived, McAuliffe received approximately $74,000 from his investment in the scam and also accepted a campaign contribution from Joseph Caramadre. Federal authorities say Caramadre, through his firm Estate Planning Resources, began developing products in the 1990s that used the identities of terminally ill people to purchase variable annuities from insurance companies. The annuities offered death benefits when those annuitants died.
Caramadre located terminally ill people by visiting AIDS patients at a hospice, locating relatives of terminally ill people, and placing an ad in a local Catholic newspaper offering $2,000 cash to people with a terminal illness.
In 2009, Caramadre gave McAuliffe’s campaign a $26,599 contribution, including an in-kind event donation of $1,599, according to records kept by the Virginia Public Access Project.
“Terry was one of hundreds of passive investors several years ago and had no idea about the allegations against the defendant — who, at the time, was widely respected by business leaders and elected officials,” Schwerin said. “The allegations are horrible and he never would have invested if he knew he was being deceived.”
McAuliffe has maintained a consistent lead over his Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli, after watching his polling lead get sliced in half over the month of September. It is unclear whether or not this will hurt McAuliffe’s electoral prospects going forward. At best, Terry McAuliffe was clearly incompetent and seemingly okay with keeping such bad company. At worst, this is a continuation of a disturbing pattern that began with revelations of McAuliffe’s former company Green Tech, which reveals a man who frequently engages in unethical business practices using his less than honest business connections.