News and Press Releases

Denmark, Wisconsin Man Indicted in Federal Court With Arson, Mail Fraud and Murder for Hire

February 17, 2012

United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that a federal grand jury recently returned a four-count indictment against Mathew L. Lemberger (age: 32) of Denmark, Wisconsin charging him with arson of a building used in interstate commerce (count one), mail fraud (count two), arson in connection with a federal felony (count three), and murder for hire (count four). 

 The maximum penalties are as follows: Count one - not less than five and not more than twenty years imprisonment; Count two - not more than twenty years imprisonment; Count three - ten years consecutive to the sentence imposed on count two; and Count four - not more than ten years imprisonment.  Each offense has a maximum fine of $250,000, a $100 special assessment, and a maximum three-year term of supervised release. 

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Lemberger is accused of combining with two co-conspirators to intentionally burn his business property for purposes of later collecting insurance proceeds for the loss.  Lemberger is further alleged to have offered to kill the spouse of one of his co-conspirators in lieu of paying the conspirator for assisting him with the arson.  Lemberger is set to appear before United States Magistrate Judge James R. Sickel on February 21, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. 

 In announcing these charges Santelle, commented: “This case and others like it reflect the continuing focus of federal and state law enforcement on violent crime - in this instance, conduct that causes serious damage to property and that threatens lives, directly and indirectly. Arson and arson related prosecutions remain among the priorities of the United States Department of Justice and I commend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Sheriffs Offices in Brown and Washington Counties for their effective partnership in the investigation of this important case”.

According to Bernard J. Zapor, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Saint Paul Field Division, “Arson is a violent crime that can also have murderous intent. In addition to the intended victims and property, the first responders risk their lives to prevent further destruction. The team of investigators have work hard to illuminate a complex and horrible event”.

The case was investigated by special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Washington County Sheriff’s Office.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William J. Roach.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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