News and Press Releases

Indiana County Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison For Arson, Mail Fraud

July 11, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Indiana County, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on his conviction of malicious destruction of property by fire and mail fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.  He was also ordered to pay $120,700 in restitution to the victims, State Farm Insurance Company and Erie Insurance Company.

United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on William Russell, 56, of Waterman, Pa.

According to information presented to the court, Russell set fire to his residence located in Brush Valley, Indiana County, Pa., on Aug. 29, 2009.  The residence was attached to a general store known as the Korner Market. After the fire, Russell submitted a fraudulent insurance claim to the Erie Insurance Exchange in an effort to recover insurance proceeds relating to property items lost in the fire.

Assistant United States Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Russell.

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