Published On: Fri, Jan 23rd, 2015

High-Profile Attorney, GOP Fundraiser & Retired Sheriff Deputy Arrested In Multimillion Dollar Insurance Fraud Case

A photo of “Clairemont” following the Oct. 2013 fire (Photo: Eagle Fire Company)

A photo of “Clairemont” following the Oct. 2013 fire (Photo: Eagle Fire Company)

By Tom Sofield
Levitttown Now

A high-profile Bucks County attorney with an office in Middletown was charged in a massive multimillion dollar insurance fraud scheme Thursday.

Carla Risoldi, 48, was charged along with several family members, a private investigator and fabric vendor. Risoldi has an office on Durham Road and another in New Hope. She practices family law and used to work as a Bucks County District Attorney.

“This family and their co-conspirators stole millions to fund a lifestyle of extravagance and excess,” Attorney General Kathleen Kane said following the charges being filed. “Insurance fraud drives up the cost for everyone, including seniors and middle-class families. Even worse, the scheme was facilitated through threats, intimidation and falsely accusing first responders of serious crimes.”

A full text of the charges in the Risoldi Presentment is available online.

Below is a list of the individuals charged in the case:

Claire A. Risoldi, 67, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, attempted theft by deception, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility, false reports to law enforcement and insurance fraud; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and theft by deception; and three counts of forgery.

Carl A. Risoldi, 43, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Carla V. Risoldi, 48, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Sheila M. Risoldi, 43, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, insurance fraud and attempted theft by deception; and three counts of forgery.

Thomas J. French, 64, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility, false reports to law enforcement and insurance fraud; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Mark Goldman, 54, Chester County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Richard Holston, 51, Medford, New Jersey, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, insurance fraud, obstructing the administration of law, theft by deception and perjury.

Claire Risoldi (Photo: PA Attorney General)

Claire Risoldi (Photo: PA Attorney General)

The investigation into the attorney and her family began after an October 2013 fire at Claire Risoldi’s home in the 5700 block of Stony Hill Road in Buckingham. The 2013 fire was the third at the luxurious house in the past five years, according to a grand jury presentment.

The attorney general’s office said in a press release that the Risoldis filed insurance claims with their insurance carrier after each of the three fires. As of the grand jury, insurance companies have allegedly paid out $20 million in claims.

According to authorities, the Risoldis are seeking an additional $20 million of insurance money for the October 2013 fire. Half of the insurance claims were for jewelry that the grand jury found Claire Risoldi falsely accused the volunteer firefighters, who extinguished the fire, of stealing.

The cause of all three of the fires was ruled “undetermined,” the grand jury found. It was noted by the attorney general’s office that “large quantities of highly flammable materials stockpiled near the points of origin.”

“Further, video from a home security system inside Clairemont showed Claire Risoldi left the home a minute before smoke was visible outside and may have been inside while it was burning, which contradicts what she told both law enforcement and insurance representatives,” the press release said.

“Clairemont,” as Claire Risoldi’s several-acre property was called, was the home for her husband Thomas French, her son Carl and his wife Sheila.

Attorney general officials said the Risoldis were known to have filed “questionable”insurance claims over the past 20 to 30 years.

“The investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately $7 million in assets, which the Attorney General called ‘fruits of the crimes’ that could be used for restitution upon conviction. The assets included approximately $3 million in seized bank accounts, $1.2 million in jewelry, and six Ferraris, two Rolls Royces, one Cobra, and four other vehicles worth $2.8 million,” the press release said.

More information on the case from the attorney general’s office:

  • As part of their scheme, the Risoldis progressively increased the value of jewelry covered by their insurance policy from $100,000 to nearly $11 million. The final increase in coverage occurred a mere 25 days before the 2013 fire.
  • Claire, Carl and Carla Risoldi facilitated the receipt of invoices inflated more than ten-fold for Romanesque murals inside Clairemont depicting the family “in flowing robes gazing down from the heavens.”
  • Claire and Carl Risoldi misappropriated insurance money they received for living expenses and used it to engage in fraudulent real estate transactions for personal profit.
  • The Risoldis, with assistance and false testimony from Richard Holston, a fabric vendor, attempted to obtain $2 million for damaged window treatments at Clairemont.
  • Claire Risoldi waged a campaign of intimidation of witnesses, including threatening an insurance adjustor and an attorney that was involved in one of the real estate transactions, whom she also attempted to bribe to change her testimony.

Claire Risoldi was a “prominent GOP donor and fundraiser,” according to Philly.com. Political insiders said Thursday that Claire Risoldi and French have strong ties to many of Bucks County’s most powerful Republican politicians and fundraisers.

French formerly worked in the Bucks County Sheriff’s Department and held the rank of lieutenant, law enforcement sources confirmed to LevittownNow.com.

Those charged on Thursday turned themselves in to investigators before being arraigned.

The attorney general’s office thanked the FBI for the assistance in the investigation.

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Displaying 4 Comments
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  1. joel6643@charter.net' joel ellison says:

    What happened to innocent until proven guilty. I think the insurance company will have a hard time proving all of their suppositions. Its called a bad faith claim

  2. Hopefully Carla cannot practice law anymore.
    Tom French loses his pension.
    Carl loses his job with the turnpike commission and his pension.
    I hope they all get long prison terms with huge fines that prevents them from ever having any money including the wife , the curtain man and the private investigator.
    They all deserve to rot in jail and I hope every possession of theirs is taken away so they can live in poverty.

    Bad karma brings bad karma and I hope they get a lot.
    They need to pay for every cost associated with this outrageous scam.
    Hopefully Claire can come to trial in prison orange. It will be the perfect costume to go with her big hair hairdo.
    They can hang out with the don of scams Tollefsen.

  3. origin11@comcast.net' Jane Adele says:

    GREED GREED GREED. Shame on them all.

    Try getting an impartial jury in this area. I think everyone will want justice served on them, based on what the media outlets have reported!

    Can you imagine the nerve of them to accuse the VOLUNTEER firefighters of alleged theft of jewelry? Who had to pay for that defense?

    • jenp223@hotmail.com' jen says:

      She has intimated me before and my co-workers ..I am not surprised this happens ..haha karma ….I will show this site to all my Co workers …

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