Pa. Man Gets 5 Years in Arson of Home, Business

July 13, 2011

A man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for setting fire to his home and an attached business in rural western Pennsylvania.

Fifty-six-year-old William Russell, of Waterman, was sentenced Monday by a federal judge in Pittsburgh. He had pleaded guilty in March to malicious destruction by fire and mail fraud.

Federal prosecutors say Russell set fire to his home on Route 259 in Brush Valley, Indiana County, on Aug. 29, 2009. The fire also damaged the Korner Market, a general store that was attached to Russell’s home. He then submitted a fraudulent claim to Erie Insurance Exchange.

The federal arson statute Russell violated carried a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence. He must also repay more than $120,000 to two insurance companies and serve three years’ probation after his prison term.

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