News and Press Releases


Spetember 09, 2011

Charged “arson for profit scheme” allegedly went on for almost twenty years.

           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Muskegon landlord Gerald Singer, 72, has been charged with causing nine different fires over an eighteen year time period, for the purpose of defrauding insurance companies out of over $700,000 in false insurance claims. Singer is also accused of filing false federal income tax returns and concealing the payment of the insurance money from the Internal Revenue Service.

           U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis stated, “This office will vigorously investigate and prosecute allegations of arson based insurance and tax fraud, both of which significantly impact all law abiding citizens. Not only do these crimes damage the economic fabric of our community but also expose fire fighters and residents to the extreme dangers of an arson fire. It cannot and will not be tolerated.”

           This investigation has been conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division (IRS) and the Muskegon Heights Fire Department. The indictment (Link to Indictment) alleges that defendant Singer had legal interests in the following properties, which were destroyed by fire:

           March 1, 1993; 530 Elliott Street, Grand Haven, MI, which was insured by Allstate Insurance;

           July 23, 1995; 2809 Hoyt, Muskegon Heights, MI, which was insured by Michigan Millers Mutual            Insurance;

           August 25, 1996; 3101 8th Street, Muskegon Heights, MI, which was insured by American States            Insurance;

           September 1, 1997; 2818 Peck and 2820 Peck, Muskegon Heights, MI, Auto Owners Insurance            (these properties were known as the Airlines and Diamond Discount Motels);

           June 20, 1999; 1292 E. Broadway, Norton Shores, MI, which was insured by Hartford Insurance and            Westport Insurance (this property was formerly known as “The Fair.”);

           August 22, 2002; 2340 Wood, Muskegon Heights, MI, which was insured by Farm Bureau General            Insurance Company;

           June 21, 2006; 1019 E. 35th Place, Gary, Indiana, which was insured by Ohio Casualty Insurance;

           November 9, 2006; 250 Myrtle St., Muskegon, MI, which was insured by Foremost Insurance; and,

           August 28, 2007; 2608 - 2614 7th Street, Muskegon Heights, MI, which was insured by Farm Bureau            General Insurance Company.

           A firefighter was injured in the fire at 2340 Wood Street, Muskegon Heights.

           On two other occasions, the indictment (Link to Indictment) alleges, Singer solicited tenants in other of his properties to burn down a building to collect insurance payments.

           The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office earlier prosecuted one of Singer’s tenants for her part in an arson fire at the 2340 Wood Street, Muskegon Heights address.

           The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law. .


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