BUFFALO, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says an Auburn insurance broker has been selling unnecessary policies to seniors around the state.

On Monday, Cuomo filed suit against Thomas Piccirillo, claiming he took advantage of seniors scared they would be put in a nursing home. He did not add as defendants the companies whose policies Piccirillo was selling.

"This individual duped his elderly customers into buying overlapping coverage as a way to score increased commissions," Cuomo said.

"These services are supposed to give us peace-of-mind that our loved ones are being cared for while staying independent. However, this broker preyed upon elderly fears of being institutionalized as a way to sell home care policies they did not understand, did not need and did not use."

Cuomo claims Piccirillo went door-to-door selling home health service agreements for Homeward Bound Services of North America and Americare Home Care Services, obtaining significant commissions from both.

He says the two companies did not know Piccirillo was selling the policies from the other. In 2006, Piccirillo earned more than $117,000 in commissions, according to Cuomo.

His suit seeks restitution and the posting of a $500,000 bond that would allow Piccirillo to continue selling home care policies, as well as a $10,000 penalty.

One elderly woman purchased three agreements from each company from Piccirillo, paying more than $19,000 for services she never used while Piccirillo made more than $7,000 in commission, Cuomo claims.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien via e-mail at

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