Maryland Man Charged with Arson in House Fire

May 29, 2009

A Maryland man has been charged with setting fire to a house he owned after falling behind on mortgage payments.

Stephen Swanhart was charged Tuesday with arson, malicious burning, malicious burning fraud and presenting false or misleading information.

Investigators found that Swanhart was about $17,000 behind on mortgage payments on the house he told investigators he originally planned to “flip.”

Court documents state Swanhart told investigators he left after his tenants did on the morning of the fire in August, but neighbors and an insurance claim statement indicate that he stayed.

Investigators found the propane gas range knob in the on position and an oily residue in a frying pan. The tenants said the pan was left in a drying rack and they never used the burner where the pan was found.

Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md

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