California Hotel Owner Pleads Guilty in Arson Plot

July 13, 2011

The owner of a downtown Oakland residential hotel has pleaded guilty to trying to hire someone to burn the building down.

Forty-four-year-old Richard Earl Singer is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 31 after entering the plea in federal court to one count of solicitation to commit arson.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Singer pleaded guilty last month.

Federal investigators accused the Tiburon resident of telling an informant in December that he wanted the seven-story Hotel Menlo destroyed in order to get the maximum insurance payout.

Singer allegedly agreed to pay the informant $65,000 to have someone set fire to the hotel.

According to investigators, the Hotel Menlo and another Oakland hotel owned by Singer are the subject of civil litigation over claims they are uninhabitable.

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