Mo. Man Sentenced in Arson Case

August 22, 2005

One of the four St. Louis area men who were convicted in May of multiple charges in connection with the arson and attempted arson of four grocery stores and another business to collect more than $3.5 million in insurance proceeds has been sentenced to 38 years in prison, United States Attorney Catherine Hanaway announced.

Walid Ihmoud, a/k/a Wally, 54, of St. Louis, was sentenced recently to 457 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $1 million. On May 4, four defendants were convicted of conspiracy to commit arson, arson, attempted arson and mail fraud.

Co-defendants Charles D’Ary, a/k/a Chuck, 55, of Venice, Illinois, and Mohammad Almassri, a/k/a Mike, 40, of St. Louis, were also scheduled for sentencing last month, and Zeyad Abdeljabbar, a/k/a Steve, 39, of Town & Country, was scheduled for sentencing this month.

According to testimony presented at trial, between August 2002 and the present, Abdeljabbar, Ihmoud, D’Ary and Almassri participated in a conspiracy to destroy four businesses owned by Abdeljabbar and one business owned by Ihmoud to collect the insurance money.

The fires occurred at St. Louis Supermarkets located at 8350 North Broadway; 4331 Natural Bridge in St. Louis and 8352 Frost in St. Louis County; and Quality Bargains, Inc. located at 8350 North Broadway, St. Louis, and owned by Walid Ihmoud.

On each occasion the defendants reportedly filed insurance claims on the damaged or destroyed businesses. The amount of money the defendants attempted to collect from various insurance carriers as a result of the fires is more than $3.5 million. The defendants also reportedly attempted to set fire to St. Louis Supermarkets on 2700 S. Grand and again at 8350 North Broadway.

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