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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 17, 2014

Dundalk Man Sentenced To Over 5 Years In Prison In Scheme To Burn Down House To Collect Insurance



Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Hassan Hammoud, age 60, of Dundalk, Maryland, today to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to destroy a conspirator’s Maryland home by fire to collect $3 million in insurance proceeds. Judge Bennett entered an order requiring Hammoud to pay restitution of $828,773.

The sentence 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; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, co-conspirator Saleh Fakhoury owned a home in Lutherville Maryland. Hammoud worked for Fakhoury at Alfeo’s, a pizza restaurant owned by Fakhoury. In 2007, Fakhoury bought a second home in Florida. By March 2009, Fakhoury owed over $200,000 to credit card companies, utilities and other service providers, as well as over $1.7 million to banks for the mortgages on the properties he owned.

Fakhoury and Hammoud schemed to destroy Fakhoury’s home in Lutherville by arson. Fakhoury intended to collect the insurance and pay off his debts. Fakhoury agreed to pay Hammoud $20,000 to set his home on fire. The two agreed that when the insurance company paid Fakhoury, Fakhoury would pay $50,000 for having his house set on fire, and the money would be sent overseas. Hammoud purportedly hired others to set the fire.

On March 12 or 13, 2009, a fire was deliberately set at the Lutherville home. The fire self-extinguished and minimal damage was sustained. On March 14, 2009, a second fire was deliberately set using paint thinner. The home was completely destroyed. Fakhoury paid Hammoud the agreed upon $20,000 to have the house set on fire.

In September 2009, Fakhoury executed a sworn proof of loss to collect $3,155,197 in insurance. The loss statement was false, in that it claimed items were destroyed or damaged in the fire when, in fact, the items were not consumed in the fire, and the fire was intentionally set. The insurance company denied the claim but paid $828,773 to the mortgagor of the Maryland home. On December 2, 2011, Fakhoury filed a civil action against the insurance company in an effort to recover monies under the insurance policy, and claim over $3 million in compensatory damages.

Saleh H. Fakhoury, age 49, formerly of Lutherville, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. As part of his plea agreement, Fakhoury has agreed to dismiss the civil lawsuit he filed.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore County Police Department and IRS - Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 26, 2015