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Originally published Friday, March 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM

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RI estate lawyer wants death fraud plea tossed

An estate planning lawyer who pleaded guilty to using the identities of terminally ill patients to illegally obtain millions of dollars says he wants to change his plea because he was under duress at the time.

The Associated Press

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. —

An estate planning lawyer who pleaded guilty to using the identities of terminally ill patients to illegally obtain millions of dollars says he wants to change his plea because he was under duress at the time.

Joseph Caramadre's lawyer argues his client wasn't competent to plead guilty and only did so because his wife was suffering from severe depression and he was being pressured his previous attorneys. The motion to withdraw the mid-trial plea was filed Thursday.

Caramadre and a former employee pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy last fall.

Prosecutors say they took out variable annuities and bonds that paid out when a person died. They allegedly lied to terminally-ill people to get personal information that was used to purchase bonds and annuities without their consent.

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