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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bremen Man Sentenced For Solicitation To Commit Arson

NEWNAN, Ga. - Hitendrafumar Patel has been sentenced to over two years in prison for hiring an undercover officer to burn his dry cleaning business.

“This defendant’s plot to burn down his own failing business could have had horrific consequences, possibly resulting in the destruction of property and loss of life to firefighters and innocent citizens,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. 

“ATF in partnership with our local law enforcement arrested a potentially violent individual who was posing a significant danger to public safety personnel and the community,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ray Brown.  “Through this cooperative effort, we were able to stop any further potential harm to the citizens of Bremen, Georgia.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  In April 2012, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation received a tip from a confidential informant that Hitendrafumar Patel had been making inquiries to find someone who would be willing to burn down his dry cleaning business, Economy Cleaners, located in Bremen, Ga.  The confidential informant, acting at the direction of law enforcement officers, called Patel and gave him the telephone number of an undercover GBI agent, who would pose as an arsonist.  Patel phoned the undercover agent and arranged a meeting at Economy Cleaners to discuss the intended arson.  The meeting took place on June 12, 2012, and was audio-video recorded by the undercover agent.  Patel told the agent that the business was not making money and that he wanted it burned so that he could pay off the mortgage and debts with the insurance proceeds.  The agent and Patel agreed on a price for the arson job, and the agent gave Patel a list of materials that Patel needed to supply the agent to use for the fire.  Patel also told the agent about another property he owned in Bowden, Ga., which Patel said he might hire the agent to burn after the Bremen arson was complete. 

The agent returned to the dry cleaners on June 30, 2012.  Patel had acquired the incendiary materials, and gave them to the undercover agent.  He then showed the agent where he hid the key to the business, and instructed the agent on how to unlock the door.  Patel paid the agent $250, promising to pay him an additional $750 after he had collected the insurance proceeds.  Patel was arrested immediately after the agent left the meeting.     

Patel, 44, of Bremen, Ga., was sentenced to two years, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr.  Patel was convicted of these charges on April 29, 2013, after he pleaded guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistance was provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and City of Bremen Fire/Rescue. 

Assistant United States Attorney Teresa D. Hoyt prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

Updated April 8, 2015