Caramadre, now in prison, argues judge biased, vindictive in seeking new trial (RI)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Cranston philanthropist Joseph A. Caramadre is asking a federal appeals court for a new trial on charges that he and his employee defrauded terminally-ill people in a multimillion-dollar investment scheme.

Caramadre argues in appealing to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith displayed bias in refusing to allow him to withdraw his guilty pleas. In addition, he says, Smith was vindictive in sentencing him to six years in prison. He asserts that Smith got in wrong in ordering the lawyer and accountant to pay $46 million in restitution.

“The text and tenor of the district court’s opinion indicate that it indeed harbored a deep-seated antagonism toward Caramadre that made fair judgment of the motion to withdraw his plea impossible,” Caramadre said.

He seeks a new trial before a different judge, or, short of that, that the case be returned to Smith for resentencing.

Federal prosecutors are asking that the appeal be dismissed. They counter that Caramadre waived his right to appeal in entering a plea deal four days into what was expected to be a four-month trial.

Caramadre and his employee, Raymour Radhakrishnan, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in November 2012 to wire and mail fraud and conspiracy in a scheme that used dying people’s identities to purchase investments without their knowledge. Investors with Caramadre’s Estate Planning Resources firm then got a full return or profited upon the people’s death.

Witnesses at trial, some testifying by video shortly before their death, told of receiving a few thousand dollars from Caramadre’s firm after signing papers that they didn’t understand.

Two months later, Caramadre moved to withdraw his plea, arguing ineffective counsel by his lawyers and mental duress caused by his wife’s emotional breakdown two days into trial. Smith rejected Caramadre’s claims as an “incredibly cynical, and disturbing effort to manipulate the court.” Caramadre, 54, is now serving time at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.


Caramadre, now in prison, argues judge biased, vindictive in seeking new trial
Katie Mulvaney
November 3, 2014
Providence Journal