Everett Man Who Faked Hate Crime Gets Three Years for Arson

September 4, 2007

A man who admitted torching a friend’s grocery store in Everett, Wash., in a plan by the two to collect insurance and make the fire look like a hate crime has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Naveed Khan, 25, of Everett, also was ordered in U.S. District Court to spend three years on supervised release and pay $200,015 in restitution for the arson at Continental Spices, a Pakistani and Middle Eastern grocery.

“I cannot even begin to fathom the fear that you placed in (your community) when you let them believe that someone was after them and would burn down their property and endanger them in that way,” Judge Marsha J. Pechman told Khan.

According to court filings, owner Mizra Akram arranged with Khan to burn down the store, which was failing financially. On the night of July 8, 2004, they spray painted anti-Arab slogans on the walls and spread gasoline in the building, and early the next morning Khan returned to set the building ablaze, investigators wrote.

Khan pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy to commit arson in July 2005 and agreed to testify against Akram, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson last February after a one-day bench trial and was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

During the investigation, police learned Akram had used the store to commit more than $30,000 of food stamp fraud. Akram was sentenced to 18 months for that offense before the arson case came to trial.

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