Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury indicted Greg Ramsey, age 54, of Baltimore, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, use of a fire to commit a federal felony, malicious destruction of property by fire, attempted witness tampering, and related gun charges. Ramsey and his niece, Tyesha Towanda Roberts, age 37, also of Baltimore, are charged with attempting to obstruct a federal investigation. The indictment was returned late on December 17, 2015.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci; and Anne Arundel County Fire Department Deputy Chief Scott Hoglander.
According to the 12-count indictment, Ramsey and a co-conspirator, J.R., agreed to commit a series of arsons. On October 28, 2012, Ramsey and J.R. traveled to the Pennsylvania residence of J.R.’s business associate, with whom J.R. was having a dispute, and set the residence on fire. At the time, the residence was occupied. The fire caused extensive damage to the residence.
Further, the indictment alleges that Ramsey agreed to set fire to residences on Clifton Avenue and Walbrook Avenue, as well as two vehicles, all of which were owned by J.R., in order to obtain money on the insurance policies. The indictment alleges that on February 17, 2013, Ramsey deliberately set the Clifton Avenue residence on fire. At the time the fire was set, the residence was occupied by tenants. The fire caused extensive damage to the residence.
On August 26, 2013, after Ramsey and J.R. moved the vehicles to the 2700 block of Walbrook Avenue, Ramsey and J.R. allegedly set the Walbrook Avenue property and the vehicles on fire. The fire at the Walbrook Avenue property not only caused extensive damage to the building, but spread to the neighboring homes. Both vehicles were completely destroyed and those fires spread to a nearby church, located at 1925 N. Dukeland Street in Baltimore, causing extensive damage to that building.
On February 19, 2013, J.R. reported the loss due to fire damage at the Clifton Avenue residence to the insurance company, which issued a check for $50,000 to J.R. and the mortgage holder. After the mortgage and other debts were paid off, the mortgage holder wrote J.R. a check for the balance, approximately $10,000. After the fires on August 26, 2013, J.R. contacted the insurance companies for the vehicles and the Walbrook Avenue property to begin the insurance claims process, which continued by telephone and email, although neither insurer paid the claims.
Unbeknownst to Ramsey, on May 29, 2015, J.R. pleaded guilty to the insurance fraud scheme and the arsons. According to the indictment, on September 14, 2015, Ramsey and J.R. had a detailed discussion about certain evidence at the co-conspirator’s upcoming trial. Ramsey offered to have his “sister,” Roberts, falsely testify that J.R. was visiting her at her house in the vicinity of Walbrook Avenue as an explanation for why J.R. was in the area near the date and time the fires were set. During that discussion, Ramsey also allegedly offered to have someone to kill a witness who would testify for the prosecution. Ramsey and J.R. had additional discussions regarding Ramsey’s offer for Roberts to falsely testify on behalf of J.R. The indictment alleges that Roberts confirmed that she was willing to offer false testimony, and took $1,000 from a confidential source as an initial payment. After that meeting Ramsey again brought up with the confidential source the possibility of getting money to pay an individual who was willing to murder a witness who was prepared to testify for the prosecution. On November 2, 2015, Ramsey and Roberts met with J.R. to discuss the particulars of Roberts’ false testimony. During a discussion about possibly killing any witness testifying for the prosecution, Roberts offered that she knew people who would be willing to commit such a murder.
The indictment alleges that on November 6, 2015, the confidential source introduced Ramsey to an undercover law enforcement officer (UC) to discuss Ramsey’s offer involving murdering a witness for a fee. On November 13, 2014, Ramsey allegedly met with the UC and accepted $2,000 towards the $10,000 total fee that had been agreed upon for murdering a witness. Ramsey then directed the UC to his residence where he retrieved a loaded .357 revolver, to be used to murder the witness.
Ramsey faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy; a maximum of 10 years in prison for one count of use of a fire to commit a federal felony and 20 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for each of the two other counts; a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison for each of four counts of malicious destruction of property by fire; a maximum of 30 years in prison for attempted witness tampering; a mandatory minimum of five years and up to life in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Ramsey and Roberts each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for attempting to obstruct a federal investigation. Ramsey and Roberts were both arrested on related charges on November 13 and November 18, 2015, respectively. Ramsey remains detained. Roberts is under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. An initial appearance on this indictment has not been scheduled.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office and Anne Arundel County Fire Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case.