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Four From Fairfield County Charged In $17 Million Insurance Firm Scheme

The Employee Benefit Solutions campus in Wilton.
The Employee Benefit Solutions campus in Wilton. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Four former managers and employees of a Connecticut insurance firm are facing charges for their roles in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud client healthcare expenses.

New Canaan residents Anthony Riccardi, Patricia Riccardi, Vanessa Battle, and Erin Verespy, of Trumbull, are facing charges for defrauding clients by misappropriating over $17 million in client funds intended for employee healthcare claims.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said that the four being charged were managers at Employee Benefit Solutions LLC (EBS), which was based out of Wilton. The company offered a variety of healthcare insurance-related services to clients.

It is alleged that between 2015 and 2019, EBS generated bimonthly “check register” invoices for an auto dealership in Westchester that listed all employee healthcare expenses from healthcare providers during that two-week period.

In reality, a significant amount of purported checks listed on the EBS “check register” invoices were never actually deposited by the healthcare providers.  

Instead, approximately $17.87 million in the company’s healthcare payments were misappropriated, with the majority simply transferred by EBS into its own operating account, where they were used for non-healthcare expenses by the defendants.

Strauss said that in an effort to conceal their fraud from the auto dealership, the four took steps by creating and sending manipulated and fabricated bank statements and checks to create the appearance that healthcare claims were being paid by EBS, when in reality they were not. 

“As alleged in the criminal complaint, the defendants abused their positions as administrators of client healthcare plans for years by creating false and inflated invoices and then misappropriating millions of dollars for their own uses,” Strauss said.

“As further alleged, the defendants sought to conceal this fraud by creating false bank statements and checks.”

Anthony Riccardi, 42, Patricia Riccardi, 53, Battle, 65, and Verespy, 49, were each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, they will face up to 20 years in prison.

United States Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett added: “The magnitude and the level of the alleged dishonesty by these individuals is truly unfathomable.  

“The defendants allegedly enriched themselves with money transferred to EBS intended for the payment of medical expenses,” he added. “Once Postal Inspectors caught this case they swiftly uncovered the theft scheme and brought those allegedly responsible to justice for their criminal behavior.”  

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