Ohio Judge Indicted, Charged With Setting Own Home on Fire

April 25, 2003

An Ohio municipal judge is accused of setting his house on fire after allegedly increasing insurance coverage on it and taking valuables out of the home, federal officials said, according to an Associated Press report.

After a five-month investigation, Fairfield County Municipal Judge Donald McAuliffe was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts, including arson, mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. A single count seeks the forfeiture of a $235,000 insurance claim payment, a pair of real estate parcels and a vehicle that authorities charge were the proceeds of fraud.

The indictment reportedly states that McAuliffe added more insurance coverage on his home in Millersport to more than $200,000 from $125,000 in late February. He then reportedly requested an individual remove photographs, antiques and other valuables five days later. He allegedly then caused a natural gas line break in an unsuccessful attempt to start a fire, and told an individual to place a halogen lamp against a wall on March 2, resulting in the start a fire.

If convicted of the charges, the mail fraud counts carry a maximum five-year prison term, while the money laundering and arson counts have maximum 10-year sentences.

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