Pennsylvanian Convicted in Hurricane Ivan Insurance Fraud

September 10, 2008

A western Pennsylvania man has been convicted of participating in an insurance fraud kickback scheme in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.

A federal jury found 55-year-old Raymond Pugliese of Leechburg guilty of six counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Pugliese ran a company that cleaned and refurbished equipment. They say he conspired with Michael Smarto, whose tools and machinery were damaged by flooding triggered by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

Prosecutors say the two overstated the cost of cleaning Smarto’s equipment. The insurance company paid the claims and, prosecutors say, Pugliese kicked back more than $320,000 to Smarto.

Smarto pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.

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