St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Arson Charges
April 30, 2015
St. Louis, MO – MARDELL McGEE pled guilty to charges relating to an insurance fraud scheme which included burning a residential property in the City of St. Louis.
According to court documents, McGee owned numerous businesses involved in real estate, whose activities included buying, rehabbing, selling and renting residential properties in the St. Louis area. In 2009, McGee bought a house in the City of St. Louis for $10,000, using one of his business names. In 2010, McGee borrowed money against the property, and in 2011 he claimed to have sold it for $100,000 to a woman. The woman, however, was the mother of his child. McGee provided the financing for the purported sale using another business known as Nationwide Lending Services. The buyer obtained a homeowner’s insurance policy from State Farm that covered the property in the event of a fire. In the early morning hours of February 27, 2012, McGee set a fire in the property. The owner was not home at the time, and McGee was observed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in the vicinity at the time of the fire. McGee was involved in the insurance claim, and in October 2012, a check for $88,265 was sent to the owner of the property. That check was used to pay an insurance adjuster, leaving about $80,265 in proceeds. The adjuster gave McGee and the owner a check for $80,265, which was payable to the owner and Nationwide Lending. On that same day, McGee opened an account in the name of Nationwide Lending Services and deposited the entire $80,265 into the new account.
McGee, St. Louis, Missouri, pled guilty to one felony count of mail fraud and one felony count of arson in furtherance of mail fraud. He appeared before United States District Judge Henry Autrey. Sentencing has been set for August 3, 2015.
Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. The arson count carries a ten-year mandatory sentence consecutive to the mail fraud sentence. In determining the actual sentence, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service, St. Louis County Police Department, St. Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney John Ware is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.