N.Y. Prosecutors Find More Evidence of Slayings to Collect Life Insurance

December 1, 2003

Federal prosecutors in Queens have been conducting an ongoing investigation into unsolved killings of a number of persons who had recently taken out life insurance policies.

The investigation was triggered by the arrest two years ago of insurance broker Richard James and an accomplice, Ronald Mallay, on charges of conspiracy in the deaths of Basdeo Somaipersaud and Hardeo Sewnanan. The alleged perpetrators, who face the death penalty and their victims, were all immigrants from Guyana.

According to a report from the Daily News, federal prosecutors have now filed additional charges related to the deaths of two more men, Vernon Peters and Alfred Gobin. Ronald Mallay’s sister Betty was married to Peters, and allegedly collected around $200,000 in death benefits.

The report indicated that investigators began examining those involved when MetLife noticed that there had been 21 claims on life insurance policies written by James within a short period of time. The number was around 318 percent higher than would normally be expected. In addition many of the deaths were caused by violence.

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