PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh-area dentist is accused of killing his wife in Africa to claim millions in insurance money.
Lawrence Rudolph, the founder of Three Rivers Dental here in Pittsburgh, is charged with mail fraud. But federal investigators have laid out much more in dozens of pages of court filings.
According to the criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Colorado back in December, FBI investigators claim Rudolph killed his wife, Bianca Rudolph, while they were on a safari and hunting trip to Africa in 2016.
Federal investigators allege the man killed his wife and had her cremated in Africa in a scheme to collect millions in life insurance claims tied to her death.
According to the criminal complaint, Lawrence Rudolph allegedly made claims through seven different insurance companies totaling more than $4.8 million in payouts. Investigators go on to say that Dr. Rudolph had his attorneys use FedEx to mail claim-related documents to one of the insurance companies.
The complaint also states the earliest life insurance policy to cover his wife was purchased around 1987 and that the policies in which Lawrence Rudolph was the primary beneficiary were updated and adjusted in 2016, the same year Bianca Rudolph died.
The complaint states that Bianca Rudolph’s death was ruled an accident by Zambian law enforcement and Lawrence Rudolph told police he suspected the gun discharged while his wife was packing it into its case.
KDKA-TV reached out to Lawrence Rudolph’s attorneys, who are trying to get their client moved from federal detention to a facility closer to his Phoenix residence. They sent a statement to KDKA-TV, saying:
“This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife of 34 years and did not kill her. Back in 2016, his wife had a terrible accident during a hunting trip in Zambia. The investigators on the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed. Now, more than five years later, the government is seeking to manufacture a case against this well-respected and law abiding dentist. Dr. Rudolph looks forward to his trial where he will demonstrate his innocence.”
Dr. Rudolph’s attorneys claim the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, saying he would not lose much during a divorce. They also claim his dental franchise is valued at close to $8 million, saying he had no financial reasons to kill his wife.
The attorneys filed motions on Tuesday to get their client out of a Colorado detention center to Arizona, where he owns a home. They argue he’s 67 years old, has medical conditions and the case against him is circumstantial.
Lisa Stanley, a former employee of the dentist, said she spotted the news on his arrest on social media.
“There were just some things that had happened when I was there that were not normal behavior for someone,” she said.
The federal mail fraud charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
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