News and Press Releases

Tomah Man Sentenced to 57 Months For Arson Scheme

June 24, 2011

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Darnell L. Rockette, 34, Tomah, Wis., was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 57 months in prison for a mail fraud through arson scheme.

At sentencing, Judge Crabb noted that Rockette had removed personal property from his rented Tomah home before setting the August 2, 2009 fire that destroyed the residence. On January 15, 2010, Rockette used the U.S. Mails to send a fraudulent “proof of loss” claim to the insurance adjuster.

The court imposed the 57-month sentence after expressing concern about the proximity of other neighborhood houses to the residence that Rockette set on fire. The court also noted that Rockette had mailed the fraudulent "proof of loss" claim to the insurance company while facing unrelated Juneau County criminal charges. The residence was a total loss and Judge Crabb directed Rockette to pay American Family Insurance $158,370 in restitution.

The charges against Rockette were the result of an investigation conducted by the Tomah Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O'Shea.


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