N.Y. Man Arrested on Arson Charge

May 13, 2003

New York Superintendent of Insurance Gregory Serio announced that Richard J. Turkow of Binghamton, New York, was arrested last week and charged with Arson in the third degree and Insurance Fraud in the third degree.

It is alleged that Turkow set his home on fire and then attempted to collect payment from the Erie Insurance Company for well drilling tools destroyed by the fire. Turkow was arrested on a warrant on May 8 in Gibson, Pa., by the Pennsylvania State Police. Following extradition to New York State, he was to be charged in Broome County. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

“Apprehending Mr. Turkow during Arson Awareness Week, which was designated from May 4-10, 2003, underscores the danger of arson,” said Serio. “Arson is estimated to cause about 500 deaths each year and in this case, a volunteer firefighter was severely injured in this blaze. The Insurance Department remains committed to working with other law enforcement agencies to fight arson and insurance fraud and enhance public safety.”

Assisting the Department’s Frauds Bureau in this investigation were the Pennsylvania State Police, the Broome County Sheriff’s Office and the Broome County Bureau of Fire Investigations.

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