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Man's money laundering sentence cut


Leonard Bramson, who along with his father and brother devised a nationwide insurance fraud scheme that bilked at least $10 million from doctors, had his nine-year prison sentence reduced by 11 months Friday.

Prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Baltimore were tight-lipped about the details, saying only that Mr. Bramson had provided information on "an unspecified case" in New Jersey and therefore earned the sentence reduction. The file was sealed.

The development is but another mysterious chapter to the Bramson story. Mr. Bramson is the brother of Martin Bramson, an international fugitive now being held by authorities in the European nation of Liechtenstein awaiting extradition to the United States on charges of mail fraud and money laundering.

Leonard, Martin, and their father, Norman, ran several Columbia-based insurance companies that prosecutors allege stole millions from doctors in a decadelong scheme. The companies offered bargain-rate malpractice insurance and collected the premiums, but never paid major claims.

The bulk of the money still is missing, and no one knows how much remains in the 600 or so bank accounts that the Bramsons set up around the world. Martin Bramson, at the time of his arrest in Europe in January 1995, was carrying nearly $4 million worth of Swiss francs and gold bullion.

But Friday, Leonard Bramson, 49, scoffed at prosecutor Carmina Hughes' suggestion that some of the stolen funds remain unaccounted for.

He told Judge Frederick Motz that he has struggled to make $30 a month through his prison job at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif., and that $25 of that money is kept by the government and applied toward the $3.6 million he was ordered to pay in restitution to those he swindled.

Prosecutors said Leonard Bramson helped set up offshore bank accounts for the scheme's illicit profits. He was jailed in June 1994 after his guilty plea to a money laundering charge.

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