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Press Release

Insurance Agent Charged in Alleged Scheme to Steal Clients Identities, File Fraudulent Insurance Applications

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – A North Attleboro, MA, self-employed insurance broker has been charged in federal court in Rhode Island with executing a scheme to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in commissions from an Iowa-based life insurance carrier by making unauthorized use of his clients’ personal identity information to sign them up for end-of-life insurance policies and draw money to pay for the unauthorized policies from their bank accounts, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Bruno Francis Ragusa, 53, is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with wire fraud, identity theft, and aggravated identity theft. He was released on unsecured bond following an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on Tuesday. A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

It is alleged in documents filed with the court that Ragusa, through his North Attleboro-based company Atlantic Coast Senior Solutions, Inc., fraudulently obtained sales commissions by affixing the electronic signatures and other personal identity information of clients, without their knowledge or permission, on insurance policy applications and payment authorization forms for policies they did not request or authorize.

It is alleged that Ragusa utilized an online tool to submit approximately 206 policy applications to Great Western Insurance Company (GWIC), located in Des Moines, Iowa, from January 2019 to February 2023, of which an FBI review of records provided by Massachusetts insurance fraud investigators and GWIC determined that between December 5, 2022, and February 9, 2023, Ragusa electronically submitted nearly 150 insurance policy applications to GWIC, some just 15 minutes apart.  The investigation revealed that some of the applications were being submitted in the names of people who had already passed away.  Calls to the living “applicants” revealed that they did not know that policy applications had been submitted in their names and had not authorized Ragusa to submit the applications or payment authorization forms. Upon approval of an application, GWIC issues an advance commission to the agent responsible for the sale of the policy. The agent also receives an additional commission for each month a payment is received by GWIC and that the policy remains in effect. If a policy is cancelled shortly after being issued, the agent is required to return to GWIC the advance commission paid by the company. GWIC records show that Ragusa received $134,660.90 in advanced commission and $2,295.66 in additional commissions. Based on early policy cancellations, Ragusa owes GWIC $70,379.47.

On November 28, 2023, the Department of Business Regulation for the State of Rhode Island revoked Ragusa license to sell insurance in Rhode Island. Ragusa’s licenses to sell insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut remain active.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Milind M. Shah.

The matter was investigated by the FBI. United States Attorney Cunha thanks the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the North Attleboro Police Department for their assistance.

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Contact

Jim Martin

(401) 709-5357

Updated March 13, 2024

Topic
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-22