Two in S.D. Plead Guilty to Arson; A Third Charged

July 29, 2008

Two Sioux Falls, S.D., men charged with burning down their business to collect the insurance money have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and their alleged accomplice has been charged.

Dai Thanh Ong, 27, and Chad Michael Blair, 31, acknowledged in federal court that they paid Jason Ashley Smith, 27, to set fire to Mobile Acoustics and Window Tinting in Sioux Falls.

Blair and Ong poured gasoline throughout the building in August 2006 and hired Smith to ignite it, according to court documents.

The fire destroyed the inside of the building and did about $110,000 in damage, said C.J. Bowker, who manages the property in which the business was located.

Smith is named in a separate indictment that has been unsealed and charges him with arson. He pleaded not guilty.

Blair is also charged with an unrelated scheme to set fire to a truck in Des Moines, Iowa, so the owner could claim insurance benefits.

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