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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 19, 2015

Former Restaurant Owner Convicted at Trial for Arson and Insurance Fraud

Owner’s Son Convicted of Conspiracy and Arson

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lawrence Wayne Reese, 56, formerly of Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, was convicted by a jury yesterday of nine separate offenses, including arson, use of fire in commission of another federal offense, and multiple counts of fraud related to the submission of Reese’s fraudulent insurance claim.  Lawrence Reese’s son, Lance Terrell Reese, 28, formerly of Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, was also convicted of arson and conspiracy to commit arson following a jury trial in which he was a co-defendant with his father.

The Reeses were indicted on February 12, 2015, for their respective roles in the February 6, 2013, arson of the “Sub Shop,” which was located on Richmond Highway in Lorton, Virginia.  Lawrence Reese owned and operated the business.  Through over five hundred hours of financial analysis performed by an ATF Senior Forensic Auditor, the United States proved at trial that the business was financially insolvent.  Specifically, Lawrence Reese’s business reported losses of approximately $60,000 on its 2012 U.S. income tax return.  Due to financial strain, Lawrence Reese recruited his son, co-defendant Lance Reese, and Horace Thompson to burn down the Sub Shop.  Horace Thompson was previously tried and convicted in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The evidence presented at trial established that Lawrence Reese and Horace Thompson, through the use of the accelerant gasoline, caused an explosion followed by a fire at Lawrence Reese’s business.  The fire destroyed the business and left Lawrence Reese and Horace Thompson badly burned.  Following the fire, Lawrence Reese submitted a claim for approximately $200,000 to his insurance company.  His submission of this claim, for an intentionally set fire, resulted in his commission of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud.

Lawrence and Lance Reese will be sentenced on September 25, 2015.  Lawrence Reese faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of twenty years of imprisonment and Lance Reese faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of ten years in prison at sentencing.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; and Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady.

This case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department’s Homicide Unit and the Arson Group in ATF’s Washington Field Division, with special assistance from ATF’s Financial Investigative Services Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Rich and Zachary Terwilliger are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-32.

Updated June 19, 2015