In a New York federal court, Anthony Riccardi, of New Canaan, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud on Tuesday, Feb. 21, according to the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Riccardi, the 50-percent co-owner and executive vice president of Employee Benefit Solutions LLC, a Connecticut insurance firm, was part of a widespread scheme to misappropriate and steal client healthcare funds and defraud lenders, as reported by Daily Voice.
The 46-year-old is facing up to 30 years in prison, and also agreed to pay $14,870,653.36 in restitution and forfeit $2,000,000.00.
According to the complaint and court filings:
Riccardi and his co-conspirators began their scam by administering third-party healthcare claims for a car dealership chain. EBS, Riccardi's insurance company, would create invoices for the car dealership brand, which would submit payments expecting the funds to be paid to healthcare providers.
Almost $18 million of these funds, out of approximately $26 million paid by the car dealership company, were misappropriated by EBS. Most of this money was transferred into the company's operating account and used for non-company expenses, including mortgage payments and boating, golf, and luxury car-related expenses.
To perpetuate the plot, Riccardi and his co-conspirators would only pay healthcare claims from healthcare providers they thought were likely to complain, or those that were connected to the car dealership executives.
The scam, which lasted from 2015 to 2019, also included falsely-inflated or fraudulent healthcare claims in the form of manually-created fake claims, including some submitted by a phony company under Riccardi's name.
EBS created falsified bank statements to keep the appearance that payments were being made to healthcare providers.
Unmet financial obligations began to mount on the increasingly-fraught healthcare insurance company in mid-2017, prompting Riccardi and his co-conspirators to apply for millions of dollars in fraudulent bank loans and cash advances used in part, to pay financial obligations to the car dealership brand.
To cover up the loan scheme, Riccardi and his co-conspirators fabricated invoices from a fake company that supposedly sold an upgraded billing software for their company.
The scheme eventually folded, and Riccardi and his three co-conspirators were charged with fraud in July 2020. Two of his co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty.
- Patricia Riccardi, Riccardi's wife, and co-defendant, previously pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, June 20.
- Erin Verespy, Riccardi's co-conspirator, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 66 months in prison.
Anthony Riccardi's sentencing is scheduled on Thursday, July 20.
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