Man Charged With Killing Wife For Financial Gain; Policy Worth $20 Mil

A real estate mogul who was beset with money problems has been accused of murdering his wife in their tony Woodside, California home.

Pooroushasb “Peter” Parineh, 64, was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of having killed his wife, Parima Parineh, in April. He called police to report the death, and claimed that it was a suicide, but evidence suggested otherwise. Notably, the fact that Parima Parineh had been shot twice in the head has led investigators to classify the death a homicide.

Parima Parineh, 56, an artist who emigrated to the U.S. from Tehran when she was 22, had been placed in a hospital for psychological evaluation just a month before her death. At that time, deputies also confiscated weapons from her, and on the penultimate day of her life, she was served with papers telling her that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office was seeking to retain the weapons with the court’s permission. Parima Parineh’s alleged suicidal tendencies initially lent legitimacy to the theory that she had killed herself.

Police said that Peter Parineh said that he was not home when his wife was shot; when deputies arrived at the couple’s home after his call to 911, he led them to the bedroom where her body lay. Recovered from the scene were a semi-automatic handgun and four bullet casings.

According to prosecutors, Parima had a life insurance policy thought to be worth $20 million, which may prove to be Peter Parineh’s motive. The couple was reportedly having financial troubles; although they were not facing bankruptcy, their home in Fox Hill was in foreclosure. Additionally, the San Mateo County Tax Collector’s Office said that the property tax on that home had not been paid since December 2008. Records show that the Parinehs purchased the house in June 2002 for $5.1 million.

Parineh, the president of leasing company Austiaj Limited Partnership, had engaged in real estate dealings in the Bay Area. He had also been the subject of legal proceedings, including a lower court’s judgment ordering him to pay $1.1 million, which was later upheld by the 5th District Court of Appeal.

Peter Parineh remains in custody without bail. He has been charged with murder for financial gain, a special allegation that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted.

“We certainly believe it was for financial gain,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, adding that Parima’s life insurance policy had passed the suicide exclusion period of two years.

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