Pennsylvania Man Accused of Burning House for Insurance Money

August 20, 2009

A northeastern Pennsylvania man who prosecutors say was about to lose his home to foreclosure is accused of burning it down for insurance money.

Manfred John Lennartz insisted as he was led from the Lackawanna County Courthouse on Tuesday that the fire that destroyed his home was an accident. The 60-year-old Jermyn man says a tree fell on his power line.

The home burned down July 23, a day before investigators say it was to be auctioned at a sheriff’s sale.

Court papers say three witnesses saw a car matching the description of Lennartz’s black Chrysler Sebring convertible leaving the home around the time of the fire.

Assistant District Attorney Corey Kolcharno says arson for financial gain has been on the rise recently.

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