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  • RI Lawmaker Pleads Not Guilty In Life Insurance Case

    March 24, 2012 by Laura Crimaldi

    LAURA CRIMALDI, Associated Press

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Providence lawmaker pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he pocketed funds from a life insurance policy on his friend’s dead daughter, calling the case a “big misunderstanding.”

    State Rep. Leo Medina, a Democrat, pleaded not guilty to embezzlement over $100, obtaining more than $500 under false pretenses and unlawful appropriation over $1,000.

    State police arrested Medina, 47, in September on allegations that he pocketed $28,000 from a life insurance policy that he was helping a friend cash in.

    He was referred to the public defender’s office for a lawyer and released on the condition he pay $10,000 if he misses a court date.

    “They’re over glorifying this here,” he said after his arraignment. “You are looking for a wolf in a henhouse.”

    Medina said the transactions took place before he assumed public office in January 2011.

    “I think this is more political than anything,” he said.

    Alejandro Nico approached Medina for help cashing in on his share of a life insurance policy on his 32-year-old daughter, who died of heart failure in May 2007 in Chevy Chase, Md., authorities have said. Nico sought Medina’s help to cash two life insurance checks because he does not speak English well and did not have a bank account, according to police.

    Medina told investigators he paid Nico $6,200 to $6,400 but used some of the money to pay bills for his struggling business, according to an affidavit written by a state police detective.

    Medina said he had tried to reach Nico to tell him, but was unable to reach him, according to the affidavit. Medina said he had no record of the payments to Nico and could not provide authorities with documentation, the affidavit said.

    The affidavit, written by state police Detective Robert A. Creamer, also says Medina claimed he had a verbal agreement with Nico in which Medina would pay Nico the life insurance proceeds on an “as needed basis,” whenever Nico came to him for the money.

    Nico told investigators that he received no money from Medina, that there was no such arrangement and that he never gave Medina permission to use any of the money himself.

    Medina ran Southside Professional Services, which advertised for services in areas such as immigration, divorce and other legal matters and made referrals to attorneys as needed. The operation is no longer in business, Medina said.

    Last year, Medina came under fire when a state legal disciplinary panel determined that Southside Professional Services promoted itself as a legal office even though Medina has no law degree or license to practice law. The panel’s findings were referred in July to the state attorney general for possible prosecution.

    A spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said the matter is still under review.

    Last March, a judge ordered Medina to forfeit his legislative pay to satisfy an $11,154 debt after he defaulted on the payments for a car he bought.

    Copyright: 

    Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

    Source: 

    Associated Press

    Wordcount: 

    488

    Originally Posted at InsuranceNewsNet on March 21, 2012 by Laura Crimaldi.

    Categories: Industry Articles
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