Apr. 22—CONCORD — A 77-year-old Pelham man who admitted in federal court to mail and wire fraud crimes will be spared incarceration because of his medical conditions, court paperwork explains.
According to documents and statements made in court, Leo Rush ran Newport Insurance Company from his home in Pelham from 2012 to 2019 without necessary licensing. Officials say a website for the company listed a fake address in Rhode Island. He was further accused of selling fraudulent surety bonds.
A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire explains, "Contractors are required to purchase surety bonds from licensed insurance companies for certain projects to ensure that workers and material suppliers are paid, and to make sure that a contractor's work is completed and performed according to a contract's specifications."
"He knew his company was not a licensed insurer and that it did not have the financial ability to make payments equal to the value of the bonds," the statement goes on. "In fact, after the deposits were made in the Newport Insurance bank account, Rush used the proceeds for his personal benefit, leaving no money to make payments on claims made against surety bonds."
Victims in several states are said to have paid him more than $633,000 for fraudulent bonds valued at over $23 million before his arrest in July 2019.
An agreement reached in court required Rush to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence of three years probation and 18 months of home confinement.
Despite prosecutors referring to the case in paperwork as "substantial," the defendant's failing mental and physical health against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic disqualified him from imprisonment, they said.
Court paperwork provides a glimpse into Rush's life prior, which did not involve any crimes. Rush is said to have moved to Pelham after leaving the U.S. Air Force, because his ex-wife's father helped him get a teaching job in town.
Rush taught math and science at the middle school, junior high school and high school levels for more than 15 years, paperwork states.
Now, Rush suffers from Parkinson's disease among other related health issues, according to court documents. He requires close to 24-hour assistance from his fiancee, who is a healthcare aide.