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United States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
Press Release

April 26, 2011

NEW HAVEN MAN CHARGED WITH
ORCHESTRATING
ARSONS AND COMMITTING INSURANCE FRAUD

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a second superseding indictment charging ANGELO REYES, also known as “Tati,” 45, of Lexington Avenue, New Haven, with additional federal offenses related to his alleged participation in the July 2009 arson of the People’s Laundromat located at 83 Lombard Street in the Fair Haven section of New Haven, and the March 2005 arson of a property he previously owned at 42 Lombard Street in Fair Haven.

The second superseding indictment, which was returned yesterday, April 25, charges REYES with one count of conspiracy to destroy property used in interstate commerce by fire, one count of destruction of property used in interstate commerce by fire, one count of wire fraud and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony, all for the July 2009 arson of the People’s Laundromat located at 83 Lombard Street.  The indictment also charges REYES with one count of wire fraud and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony, for the March 2005 arson at 42 Lombard Street.

The second superseding indictment alleges that, at the time of the fires, REYES owned several commercial and residential properties, including the properties located at 42 and 83 Lombard Street, and that he orchestrated the arsons in an effort to collect insurance proceeds, to get out of debt and/or to further his commercial and real estate development plans.

For the People’s Laundromat arson, it is alleged that REYES told a co-conspirator that he was in financial trouble and the laundromat had to be burned, otherwise he would lose everything.  In April 2009, REYES added 83 Lombard Street to an insurance policy that thereafter provided for $500,000 in property coverage and $24,000 in business interruption insurance.  On July 30, 2009, two co-conspirators caused the arson of the People’s Laundromat, pursuant to instructions provided by REYES.  Following the fire, REYES provided money and other benefits to his co-conspirators, and sought to collect on the insurance policy.  The insurance company denied REYES’ claim and REYES ultimately filed for bankruptcy.

The indictment further alleges that, as a result of responding to the fire at 83 Lombard Street, a New Haven firefighter sustained injuries that rendered him temporarily disabled and unable to return to work without limitations until November 2009.

With respect to the 42 Lombard Street arson, it is alleged that, in March 2005, REYES instructed an accomplice to set fire to the property.  REYES stated that he wanted the property burned because he planned to build a multi-family complex at the location.  The indictment alleges that REYES purchased the property, obtained a mortgage on it, obtained insurance on it, and had it burned – all within the course of a week.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that, on March 17, 2005, REYES purchased the 42 Lombard Street property for $185,000, having obtained a 30-year mortgage of $157,250, and an insurance policy that included $200,000 of coverage for the dwelling.  On March 24, 2005, following the arson, REYES made a claim on the insurance policy.

In July 2005, the insurance company paid REYES $154,015.06 in satisfaction of the claim.

REYES subsequently renovated the 42 Lombard Street property, turning it into a six-family residence.

On March 30, 2007, REYES sold property for $515,000 and, on April 2, 2007, REYES paid off the remaining balance of the $157,250 mortgage.

If convicted of the arson and arson conspiracy charges, REYES is subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of seven years and a maximum term of 40 years.  If convicted of the wire fraud charges, REYES is subject to a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, on each count.  If convicted of the use of fire to commit a federal felony charges, REYES is subject to a mandatory term of imprisonment of 10 years, to run consecutive to any sentence imposed for the wire fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

U.S. Attorney Fein commended the substantial efforts and cooperation of the several agencies involved in this investigation including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Connecticut State Police, the New Haven Police Department, the New Haven Fire Department and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

U.S. Attorney Fein stated that the investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information that may be relevant to the investigation should call the FBI at 203-777-6311.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ray Miller and Stephen Reynolds.

 

CONTACT:

 

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

 

 

 

 

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