A Woodside man who is on trial for allegedly murdering his wife to cash in on $30 million worth of insurance money admitted he faced financial ruin in the days before her death.
Pooroushash “Peter” Parineh, 67, took the witness stand Monday in his own defense in San Mateo County Superior Court.
Parineh said his real estate holdings before 2007 were worth an estimated $150 million, but by early 2010, they were worth only a few million dollars.
Five properties — including the family home in an exclusive neighborhood in Woodside — were in foreclosure, Parineh said.
A bank that had underwritten more than $30 million worth of life insurance policies in his wife Parima’s name was threatening to recall the cash and nullify them, Parineh said.
Parineh said his wife shot herself in the head April 13, 2010. The defendant said he returned home from the gym late in the afternoon and discovered her body in the master bedroom of their Woodside
There were two bullet wounds in her head. Prosecutors argue that neither gunshot could have been self-inflicted, that both would have been fatal and that Parineh made the death look like suicide to benefit from the victim’s insurance policies.
Defense Attorney Dek Ketchum argued that Parima suffered from depression in the months leading up to her death, and that she killed herself to save her family.
“Do you feel you had a role in your wife’s suicide?” Kechum asked. “What do you think? Yes,” Parineh said.
Parineh could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.