Ridge-based con man jumps from 69th Street pier prior to sentencing

March 22, 2016 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Update: A previous version of this story reported that Simoneschi jumped on Monday, March 21. A police source confirmed to us on Wednesday that he jumped at around 9 p.m. Sunday night.

A Bay Ridge businessman who pleaded guilty to grand larceny as a hate crime in January jumped off the 69th Street Pier on the evening of Sunday, March 20, the night before his sentencing.

Disgraced insurance broker Paul Simoneschi – who scammed a number of clients, the majority of them senior citizens and Italian immigrants, out of more than $4.5 million in hard-earned savings – was listed in stable condition at NYU Lutheran Medical Center on Tuesday.

“He is not likely to die,” said a police source, who told this paper that Simoneschi had been rescued by the NYPD’s Harbor unit.

The 70-year-old Staten Island owned and operated Simmons Planning Group & Agency Inc., located at 8403 Seventh Avenue, from 2009 to 2014, where he sold insurance policies and annuities to his clients.

According to his indictment, Simoneschi is said to have developed long-term relationships with some of his clients and then stole from them by either recommending that they surrender their insurance policies and invest the money with him, or simply surrendering their insurance policies without their permission or knowledge, forging names and subsequently depositing the checks into accounts that he controlled.

According to District Attorney Ken Thompson, Simoneschi tried to cover up his tracks by providing false documents to a number of his victims, including copies of “new” policies opened on their behalf. Victims allege that, at times, the Bay Ridge businessman gave them checks purported to be distributions from their policies or accounts, when really the paperwork was from accounts that he controlled.

Simoneschi was arraigned on a 63-count indictment containing charges of first-degree scheme to defraud, one count of first-degree money laundering, and 13 counts of second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, among others.

He pleaded guilty to grand larceny as a hate crime, scheme to defraud and money laundering.

When sentenced, he faces up to 12 years in prison and restitution totaling $4,477,562.

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