FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
APRIL 17, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BETHESDA ARSONIST PLEADS GUILTY
IN SCHEME TO DEFRAUD INSURANCE COMPANY
Greenbelt, Maryland - Thomas Patrick Moriarty, age 38, of Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud an insurance company by setting fire to an insured residence, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement, Moriarty assisted a friend who was involved in the contracting business to burn down an insured house in Bethesda. The friend, identified as co-schemer A, purchased the residence, located at 4615 Edgefield Road in Bethesda, in August 2003. Along with a business partner identified as co-schemer B, co-schemer A intended to make a lucrative profit by demolishing the residence, subdividing the lots and using the property for new residential construction to be re-sold. The co-schemers also purchased insurance for the residence.
To fraudulently reap the benefits of the insurance policy, the co-schemers planned to substantially damage the residence by fire, for which they would submit a claim on the insurance policy. Moriarty agreed to assist in their arson scheme. To that end, on March 12, 2004, after one of the co-schemers prepared the residence with highly flammable fuel, Moriarty set the residence on fire, causing substantial damage. After being notified of the loss, the insurance company issued checks for $50,000 and $16,900 as advance payments on the loss and for temporary housing for the insured co-schemers.
When the cause of the fire was investigated by the insurance company representatives and the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office, the co-schemers endeavored to conceal their involvement in the fire. Among other things, they persuaded another person not to reveal information about the fire to the Fire Marshal’s Office, and also provided false and misleading information to the Fire Marshal’s Office. The insurance company did not pay the balance of the claim.
Moriarty faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Pauzé, who is prosecuting the case.