The final defendant of the four St. Louis area men who were convicted in May of multiple charges in connection with the arson of four grocery stores, and the attempted arson of two more businesses, to collect more than $3.5 million in insurance proceeds has been sentenced, United States Attorney Catherine Hanaway, announced.
Zeyad Abdeljabbar, a/k/a Steve, 39, of Town & Country, 63017, was sentenced to 495 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1,140,000. There is no parole in the federal system.
The following three co-defendants were sentenced in late July:
Walid Ihmoud, a/k/a Wally, 54, of St. Louis, 63042, was sentenced to 457 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of over $1 million; Charles D’Ary, a/k/a Chuck, 55, of Venice, Illinois, was sentenced to 80 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $1 million; and Mohammad Almassri, a/k/a Mike, 40, of St. Louis, 63147, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. On May 4, the above defendants were convicted of conspiracy to commit arson; arson; attempted arson; and mail fraud. They appeared before Senior United States District Judge Stephen Limbaugh.
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. All the fires were set and attempted to be set within one month.
“Arson cases are hard cases to prove. The successful prosecution and lengthy sentences in this case are due to the hard work and cooperative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Bomb and Arson Squad, the Postal Inspection Service, and Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Ware and Matthew Drake, who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Hanaway.
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