N.Y. Murder-for-Profit Suspect Charged Again

May 26, 2004

A Guyanese immigrant has been charged in the killings of two men whom prosecutors call the victims of a murder-for-profit and insurance fraud scheme that may have claimed the lives of at least 10 other people.

Ronald Mallay has been charged in the deaths of Vern “Dilly” Peter, the husband of an accused co-conspirator, and the fatal shooting in Guyana of Alfred Gobin.

The indictment adds the new murder and racketeering charges to the case against Mallay, former insurance agent Richard James and other suspects. They are accused of orchestrating the overdose deaths of Guyanese immigrants to collect on life insurance policies the victims knew nothing about, prosecutors said.

James and Mallay already have been charged in connection with the deaths of two other Guyanese immigrants in the alleged scheme, which prosecutors said mostly victimized people weakened by adversity and alcoholism.

The accusations against James — known for hosting a Sunday afternoon cable show featuring Guyanese music and dance — shocked the Guyanese immigrant community in Queens.

MetLife discovered the alleged scheme after noticing that 21 death claims had been filed from policies written by James within a few years. The rate “was approximately 318 percent higher than expected (and) … a large number of deaths were violent or under unusual circumstances,” court papers said.

MetLife fired James in July 2000 and notified authorities, who put him under surveillance.

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Topics Profit Loss New York Abuse Molestation

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