North Dakota Business Owner and Employee Accused of Arson
Authorities have charged the owner of a Watford City restaurant and an employee with torching the business to collect insurance money.
Owner Anna Marquardt, 37, and employee Lisa Stoll, 28, face felony arson and insurance fraud counts in the June 29 blaze that destroyed TJ’s Pizza & Suds. They could enter pleas at a Sept. 15 hearing.
Investigators say they retrieved surveillance video from a computer that survived the fire that shows Marquardt and Stoll using candles to start the fire in a storage area in the ceiling of the women’s bathroom, after drinking at the restaurant’s bar following closing time.
Authorities allege the video shows Stoll on a ladder and Marquardt handing her lighted candles, and that it also shows Marquardt placing a suspected glass candle beneath a counter. The fire started in the storage area about five hours after the women left the building, according to investigators.
Marquardt filed an insurance claim last week. The two women were charged Monday and arrested Tuesday. In interviews with police, Stoll and Marquardt denied being on a ladder or accessing the storage area, according to the Williston Herald.
Marquardt faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted and Stoll up to 40 years. No one answered the telephone Wednesday at a listing for Marquardt. A telephone listing for Stoll was disconnected. Court documents don’t list attorneys for either woman.
Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Car Insurers
A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that involved staging car crashes to defraud automobile insurance companies.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly says Frandy Dugue, of Norwich, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud.
Prosecutors say the 39-year-old Dugue conspired with others to stage approximately 50 car crashes in eastern Connecticut between April 2011 and February 2014 for the purpose of defrauding car insurance companies. Dugue and his co-defendants would file fraudulent property damage and bodily injury claims with various companies following each crash.
Prosecutors say Dugue and others collected $10,000 to $30,000 per crash.
Scheduling is sentenced for Nov. 1. Dugue faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
Authorities Charge 32 in Philadelphia Auto Theft, Fraud Ring
Prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pa., say they’ve charged 32 people and three corporations for participation in what’s being described as a theft and insurance fraud ring that stole and resold 45 vehicles.
District Attorney Seth Williams announced the charges Wednesday, accusing the defendants of a scheme that used fake inspections, reused vehicle identification number plates and more than 100 fraudulent insurance cards.
Most of the stolen vehicles had belonged to national car-rental chains’ branches in the Philadelphia area.
All but one of the defendants have been arrested.
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