U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
November 19, 2010
Former town councilman, R.I. Contractor Board hearing officer, unlicensed insurance adjuster,
on-air radio personality indicted in financial fraud case
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal grand jury Thursday returned a five-count indictment charging four individuals with allegedly scheming to defraud an insurance company of nearly $50,000 by intentionally damaging a home and in-ground swimming pool, then filing a claim to pay to repair the damage and damage that occurred during the historic floods in March. The flood damage was not covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.
Former North Providence Town Councilman John A. Zambarano, 47, a residential contractor and owner of Zam’s Carpeting, Inc.; Robert A. Ricci, 49, of North Providence, a hearing officer for the Rhode Island Contractor’s Registration and Licensing Board, and a residential contractor and owner of R.A.R. Building and Home Improvements LLC; Vincent O. DiPaolo, 61, of Johnston, an unlicensed public insurance adjuster and owner of VDP United Consultants, Inc.; and Lori A. Sergiacomi, 49, of North Providence, a/k/a Tanya Cruise, an on-air Providence radio personality, are each charged with four counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy.
The indictment, an out-growth of the ongoing FBI investigation into alleged public corruption in North Providence, was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.
The indictment alleges that the four conspired to devise a scheme in which an insurance claim would be filed to repair uninsured flood damage to Sergiacomi’s home which was caused by the historic floods in March. They intentionally caused damage to the roof and interior of Sergiacomi’s home and in-ground swimming pool, and then attributed the damages and the previous flood damage to a fictitious wind and rain storm in April. Sergiacomi’s insurance claim for nearly $50,000 also included money to be used for home improvement projects.
According to the indictment, following the March flooding DiPaolo and Zambarano advised Sergiacomi not to file a claim with FEMA because the money would have to be paid back in the form of a loan; the agency would not pay for additional repairs and improvements which were unrelated to flood damage; and a FEMA claim could be subject to scrutiny.
According to the indictment, DiPaolo, whose insurance adjuster’s license was revoked by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation in December 2007, acted as Sergiacomi’s representative and agent. It is alleged that he lied to an insurance adjuster who represented Sergiacomi’s insurance company about the damages and the cost of repairs to Sergiacomi’s property.
The indictment also alleges that Zambarano and Ricci intentionally caused damage to the house and pool, after which Zambarano created a fraudulent invoice which estimated the damage and cost of repairs at nearly $50,000. Zambarano and Ricci were hoping the proceeds from the settlement would create paying jobs for themselves.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release. Conspiracy is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.
The matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly.