The Risoldi family calls its white-columned mansion "Clairemont."
Surrounded by 10 acres of rolling farmland outside New Hope, Bucks County, it boasts a swimming pool, six bedrooms, and a ceiling mural of family members dressed in flowing robes, looking down from the heavens.
The manse has caught fire three times in five years - and the Risoldis could not have been more lucky, state prosecutors said.
Receiving $20 million in insurance payouts from the blazes of undetermined origin, the Risoldis allegedly bought six Ferraris and two Rolls-Royces, $1.2 million worth of jewelry, and another house while spending millions to renovate the damaged one.
Matriarch Claire Risoldi, 67, a prominent Republican donor and fund-raiser, was charged Thursday on a slew of felony charges, including insurance fraud and corruption.
Other family members charged include her daughter, Carla, a former Bucks County prosecutor and now a private attorney, and Claire Risoldi's husband, Thomas French, a retired deputy sheriff.
The family is well-known in Bucks County legal, political, and law enforcement circles.
"This family and their coconspirators stole millions to fund a lifestyle of extravagance and excess," Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said in a statement. "Insurance fraud drives up the cost for everyone, including seniors and middle-class families. Even worse, the scheme was facilitated through threats, intimidation, and falsely accusing first responders of serious crimes."
After the last fire in 2013, Claire Risoldi accused volunteer firefighters of stealing rings and Rolex watches from her house, the Attorney General's Office said. She also allegedly threatened to "bury" an insurance claims adjuster when he contacted authorities regarding her suspicious claims.
"Karma is going to come back and hit you and your family in the most horrible, sad way," she said to him in a voice mail quoted in court documents.
Claire Risoldi has a history of filing "questionable" insurance claims for the last 20 to 30 years, court records state. For instance, state investigators said they found jewelry in her home that she reported stolen more than 20 years ago.
Risoldi has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the county's Republican Party, state lawmakers, and a county judge. She also has organized political fund-raisers for candidates such as U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) at the New Hope mansion.
"We are going to fight these charges aggressively," said Matt Haverstick, an attorney with the Philadelphia law firm Conrad O'Brien, who is representing Claire Risoldi. Robert J. Donatoni, the attorney for Carla Risoldi, declined to comment.
Also accused is Claire Risoldi's son, Carl, a public relations and marketing specialist with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and his wife, Sheila. Attorneys for them could not be reached for comment. An attorney was not listed for French.
Risoldi and French lived at the home, along with Carl and Sheila Risoldi and their two young children, investigators said. The allegations against the family members include charges that they lied about millions of dollars worth of jewelry that disappeared after the 2013 fire.
The Risoldis still have $20 million in outstanding insurance claims they are pursuing after the latest fire, state officials said. The claims allegedly include $10 million for jewelry, $2 million for drapes, and $700,000 to repair the ceiling mural depicting the Risoldis staring down from the heavens.
Coconspirators Mark Goldman, 54, a private investigator from Wayne, and Richard Holston, 51, a fabric vendor from Medford, face fraud and other charges.
BY THE NUMBERS
in alleged fraudulent insurance payouts were made to the Risoldi family.
was paid out for the loss of drapes in a fire.
of the payouts was spent on six Ferraris, two Rolls-Royces, and four other vehicles.
was spent on jewelry.
SOURCE: Pa. Attorney General's OfficeEndText
Inquirer staff writer Paul Nussbaum contributed to this article.