Published On: Fri, Feb 6th, 2015

Former Bucks County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged In Massive Insurance Fraud Case Kills Himself, Sources Say

Thomas French

Thomas French

(Story courtesy of Levittown Now)

The retired Bucks County sheriff deputy charged in a insurance fraud scheme the Pennsylvania attorney general alleges led to his wife and her family living a life of “extravagance and excess” killed himself Thursday.

Sources with knowledge of the incident confirmed 64-year-old Thomas J. French was found dead inside the rental home he lived in with his wife, Claire Risoldi, and members of her family. An official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter said medics and police were called to the Danielle Drive house late Thursday afternoon for reports of a man who had committed suicide. An additional medic was later called to evaluate a person suffering from a medical condition at the home following the discovery of French’s body.

Police and county detectives are handling the death investigation. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported two apparent suicide notes were discovered at the scene.

“I committed no crime,” French wrote, a source told the newspaper. Another note said the pressure had become too much for the former lawman.

French married Claire, the mother of attorney Carla Risoldi, 43, who had an office in Middletown and New Hope, in the past few years. Along with his wife, extravagant parties were thrown to raise funds for Republican candidates inside their “Clairemont” estate and their rented home on Danielle Drive, both in Buckingham.

Claire Risoldi (Photo: PA Attorney General)

Claire Risoldi, matriarch of the family, is accused of being part of the alleged scheme which netted them millions after three fires of undetermined cause damaged the Clairemont estate in recent years.

The charges against the members of the Risoldi family, a private investigator and a fabric vendor have captivated locals and caught the attention of international media.

“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 attorney general’s office said last month.

A grand jury report said the Risoldis were seeking an additional $20 million of insurance money for an 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. It was noted by the attorney general’s office that “large quantities of highly flammable materials stockpiled near the points of origin.”

The Risoldis were known to have filed “questionable”insurance claims over the past 20 to 30 years, the grand jury report noted.

The New Hope Free Press reported the Clairemont estate featured murals on the ceiling that depicted her family in flowing robes in classic Roman style.

“Claire Risoldi said she and her family deny any criminal wrongdoing,” an Allentown Morning Call article said.

All those charged in the alleged scheme are free on bail and awaiting preliminary hearings.

Information from the Attorney General’s office on those charged:

  • 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.

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