The bogus insurance agent who admitted to ripping off seniors through his Dyker Heights business has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, announced Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Paul Simoneschi, 70, of Staten Island had pleaded guilty fraud, money laundering, and larceny as a hate crime charges in January. Last month, he tried to jump of the 69th Street Pier, but survived, according to police.
Simoneschi allegedly targeted vulnerable, elderly victims, some of whom he had befriended, and scammed them out of almost $4.5 million in hard-earned savings, according to the DA.
“This defendant deserves to spend significant time in prison for his shameful exploitation of elderly people who lacked financial savvy,” said Thompson. “He took advantage of them and stole the money they saved for their Golden Years. We will be as aggressive in prosecuting anyone who commits crimes against senior citizens and other vulnerable residents of Brooklyn.”
At the time of his plea, Simoneschi also signed judgment orders of restitution totaling $4,477,562, which is the amount he stole from his victims. Additionally, Simoneschi’s corporation, Simmons Planning Group & Agency, Inc., has pleaded guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree money laundering and second-degree grand larceny.
An investigation found that Simoneschi, while operating Simmons Planning Group & Agency Inc (8403 7th Avenue) between March 10, 2008 and July 29, 2015, recommended that his clients surrender their insurance policies and invest the money with him, according to prosecutors, but instead of investing the money, the conman allegedly stole the cash for himself.
Simoneschi then tried to conceal his crimes by giving false documents to his victims, including copies of “new” policies opened on their behalf, and checks purported to be distributions from their policies. His 21 victims, many of whom were in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, lost amounts ranging from $1,000 to over $1 million.