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The victim of partners' fraud, ex-Raven awarded $33 million

The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore judged yesterday ordered the business partners of Michael McCrary to pay the former Raven about $33 million in damages for a fraudulent insurance claim involving a condominium project in New Orleans, according to McCrary's lawyer.

Judge Paul E. Alpert awarded the retired McCrary $15 million in punitive damages, one of the highest judgments on record, according to attorney Kenneth B. Frank, and about $16 million in compensatory damages. An additional $2 million came from prejudgment interest.

Frank said the judge, during his ruling, called the scheme one of the most egregious cases of fraud he had ever seen. McCrary joined Stuart C. "Neil" Fisher and Edward Giannasca in buying a 45-story office building, which was to be converted into condominiums called Crescent City Estates, according to Frank.

The project was halted after Hurricane Katrina damaged the building in 2005. According to court testimony, Fisher, Giannasca and other entities collected about $12 million worth of insurance money from the damage caused by the storm but told McCray that the insurance claim was denied. The partners then sold the building, giving McCrary about $2 million of the $3.5 million he originally invested.

None of the defendants showed up for the trial.

McCrary, a defensive end, played six seasons with the Ravens and is in the team's Ring of Honor.

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