Chicago Executive Convicted in Home Insurance Scheme

August 15, 2005

Former commodities firm executive Marc E. Thompson set his home ablaze and burned his elderly mother alive to collect insurance money that he later hid during bankruptcy proceedings, a federal jury ruled late last week.

Thompson, 53, faces 115 years in prison on money laundering and fraud charges stemming from the $600,000 home insurance payoff he collected from the arson, the jury found.

Thompson later set up a shell corporation in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, to launder $400,000 he sent to an offshore bank account, prosecutors charged.

He killed his mother, 90-year-old Carmen Thompson, “because she was an alibi,” Special Assistant U.S. Atty. Pat Layng said. “She could be blamed for the arson.”

Carmen Thompson’s Aug. 11, 2002, death by carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation was initially ruled a suicide. She died in the basement of her son’s home in the 3700 block of North Paulina Street, where lacquer thinner was poured along a wall as a fire starter, authorities said.

U.S. authorities did not have jurisdiction to bring murder and arson charges in the case.

Thompson was a former executive of the grain futures firm O’Connor & Co., prosecutors said.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

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