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Insurer Cites Blood Fraud in Refusing to pay AIDS Claim

July 8, 1990

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ An insurance company is refusing to pay a $2 million life insurance claim to the survivor of an AIDS victim, saying the victim used someone else’s blood to qualify for coverage.

Lawyers for Massachusetts General Life Insurance Co. want a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale to throw out the $2 million claim by Anthony C. Fioretti, who died of AIDS on Feb. 28, 1989, in Broward County.

Fioretti, 40, tested positive for the HIV virus and was rejected by another insurance company less than a month before virus-free blood was used in his application to Massachusetts General, the lawyers say.

″The person submitting blood for HIV testing on (June 29, 1987) was not in fact Fioretti, but represented himself and his blood sample to be that of Fioretti,″ the suit says.

Fioretti also used the name ″Finetti″ on the application to make it more difficult for insurance investigators to discover through national computer records he had previously tested positive for AIDS, the suit says.

Despite the proliferation of AIDS cases nationwide, the Massachusetts General lawsuit is one of only a handful of cases filed in federal court involving AIDS victims accused of trying to enrich survivors through fraudulent insurance claims, according to a report in Saturday’s Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

Fioretti, a former New York City florist, had been paying $30,365 per year in premiums to maintain his $2 million insurance coverage since July 1987. The sole beneficiary was listed as Fioretti’s brother, Vincent, of Plantation, who has an unlisted phone number and could not be located for comment.

Last month, Fort Lauderdale attorney Steven Fine filed suit on behalf of Vincent Fioretti to force Massachusetts General to pay the $2 million claim. Calls to Fine’s office went unanswered Saturday.

Mark F. Hughes Jr., an attorney for Massachusetts General in Newark, N.J., said the company - in accordance with insurance laws - has offered to refund Fioretti’s premium payments, with interest, to his brother. The offer was rejected, he said.

Hughes said the insurance company has filed a countersuit in federal court in New York City, where the blood tests were performed, asking the court to dismiss Fioretti’s claim.

″How do we know that an imposter submitted the blood?,″ Hughes asked rhetorically. ″We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Fioretti died of AIDS. We know that AIDS does not kill you immediately so he had to have had it before his death. And we know that in January 1987 his blood tested positive for HIV.″

If the company knew he had the AIDS virus, Massachusetts General would have never issued the policy, he said. The suit argues that because of alleged fraudulent acts by Fioretti, his application was void before it was accepted.

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