Convicted killer Joe Caronna pleads guilty to fraud charges - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Convicted killer Joe Caronna pleads guilty to fraud charges

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Clara Murphy got her daughter's jewelry back Tuesday. Clara Murphy got her daughter's jewelry back Tuesday.
Joe Caronna Joe Caronna
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A convicted wife killer already serving a life sentence faces the possibility of an additional 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges in federal court.

Joe Caronna, 48, was convicted of first degree murder for killing his wife, Tina. He was sentenced to life in prison but is eligible for parole after 51 years.

Federal prosecutors filed a 57-count indictment against Caronna, alleging that he stole $788,000 from various friends and clients who thought they were buying insurance and annuities from him. Instead, prosecutors say he pocketed their money and spent it on expensive cars and other personal benefits.

Caronna pleaded guilty to four of the 57 counts: one count of mail fraud, two counts of insurance fraud and one count of money laundering. He also consented to forfeiting $689,730.25 in assets.

Tina Caronna's mother Clara Murphy, her brother Scott, state prosecutors who successfully fought to convict Caronna on the murder charge, and other friends were in the court gallery to watch federal proceedings unfold.

In addition to the guilty pleas Tuesday, there was also a special reunion for Clara Murphy.

Murphy was given the jewelry that her daughter was wearing when she was murdered by her husband.

"I had to come here to hear it. Because Joe's a liar," Murphy said referring to Caronna's admittance of guilt. "I wouldn't have missed it for anything."

She continued, "When he looks at me, I think he sees Tina. And I wanted him to see me."

Defense Attorney Howard Manis argues that Caronna did not steal as much as he is accused and he said Tina's murder is not a factor.

"I don't necessarily see this as a change of heart," said Manis. "It'll be our position at sentencing that the state action has no bearing on what the judge does here."

Regardless of what the defense attorney said, Murphy says hearing Joe admit guilt to something made her day.

"I'm happy and I'm sad," she said. "You know, I know Tina's never coming back. I miss her so much. There's no reason for what he did."

Sentencing is scheduled for 10 am on May 28.

While 50 years is the max sentence, it is likely to be much lower based on yet-to-be determined federal sentencing guidelines.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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