News and Press Releases

Insurance Broker Indicted for Embezzling
Clients’ Funds and Money Laundering

November 5, 2010

Memphis, TN - Joseph G. Caronna was indicted today on 63 counts of insurance fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, and Martin D. Phanco, United States Postal Inspector in Charge and Christopher Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation. The indictment alleges Joseph Caronna was licensed by the State of Tennessee as an insurance agent and had agreements with various insurance companies to sell life insurance and annuities. The indictment charges that Caronna would, without his client’s knowledge, forge signatures and withdraw funds from their accounts. Further, the indictment alleges that on some occasions Caronna established false bank accounts and obtained mail boxes used to conceal the misappropriation from the clients and the insurance companies. It is alleged that Caronna used the converted funds for his personal benefit, including the purchase of numerous antique and luxury vehicles.

The indictment also charges Caronna with violating Title 18, United States Code, 1957, by using money obtained by fraud to purchase six (6) cars and trucks. The indictments seek the forfeiture of $835,809.35 by Mr. Caronna.

Mr. Caronna is currently being held in state custody on other charges.

Mr. Stanton stated, “Thefts such as these premised upon greed, strike at the heart of the financial system and victimize those attempting to invest and save their hard earned income. These types of financial crimes will continue to remain a priority of this office and will be vigorously pursued.”

“U.S. Postal Inspectors are responsible for protecting the sanctity of the nation’s mail system. We remain resolute in our investigative efforts to bring those to justice who are responsible for fraudulently utilizing the U.S. Mail system in the furtherance of their schemes,” said Martin D. Phanco, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge, Atlanta Division.

"IRS Criminal Investigation will aggressively pursue those individuals who abuse their position of trust to carry out illegal activities. Our expertise in analyzing financial transactions allows us to follow the money," said Christopher Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Nashville Field Office. "

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the Bartlett Police Department and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent Paris Quon. Mr. Stanton commended the United States Postal Inspector Thomas Terry for investigating such an extensive case.

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Note: Charges brought against a person through a Criminal Complaint are accusations only. That person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.



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