Mich. Woman Starts House Fire to Collect Insurance Money

December 19, 2007

A Kent County, Mich. woman has pleaded no contest to setting her home on fire with her husband and teenage children inside to collect insurance money.

Prosecutors say 38-year-old Sheryl Christman of Grand Rapids Township was facing foreclosure, wanted to get out of the $150,000 home’s mortgage and wanted to be with her new boyfriend.

The Grand Rapids Press reports mattresses were set on fire in the garage on September 1. Investigators say Christman wept outside as the home burned.

Her family escaped without injury.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such at sentencing.

Christman faces up to 20 years in prison, but could get less than two because she had no previous criminal record.

Sentencing is expected within six weeks. She offered the plea on Monday.

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