Two Indicted For Arson And Mail Fraud
Steven Mellides, 51, of Massapequa, New York, and John Fisher, 34, of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, were
indicted by a federal grand jury on May 15, 2013, and were each charged with four counts relating to their
participation in the intentional burning of a newly constructed single family house in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.,
announced David Rivera, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The indictment was unsealed yesterday after both defendants were arrested. The indictment charges
each defendant with conspiring to commit, and committing, mail fraud and arson.
“This case illustrates the U.S. Attorney’s Office commitment to prosecuting both violent crime and
white collar crime,” said Acting United States Attorney David Rivera. “We will continue working diligently with our local and state partners to bring to justice those who seek to enrich themselves by putting innocent people in harm’s way.”
“These arrests indicate the collaborative effort by federal, state and local authorities” said Jeff Fulton,
Special Agent in Charge, ATF, Nashville Field Division. “Arson is a a crime of violence that places innocent
people’s lives and property in harm’s way.”
According to the indictment, Mellides owned a residence in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and had multiple
conversations with Fisher and at least one other individual regarding intentionally burning the house. Those conversations culminated with Fisher intentionally setting fire to the house on December 12, 2009. After the house was destroyed by fire, Mellides told State Farm Insurance that he did not know how the fire started and did not ask anyone to set the fire, and caused multiple checks to be mailed from State Farm to pay for the damage to the house.
If convicted, the defendants each face up to twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as
forfeiture of property derived from or used in violation the offenses charged.
The case was investigated by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the
Bomb and Arson Section of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, and the Mt. Juliet Police Department. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scarlett M. Singleton.
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.