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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fort Dodge Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Use Of Fire To Commit Wire Fraud

A woman who conspired to use fire to commit wire fraud by causing a home to be destroyed by fire, and collecting proceeds from a bogus insurance claim alleging the fire was accidental was sentenced November 25, 2014, to 10 years in federal prison.

Shirley Weimer, age 67, from Fort Dodge, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 1, 2014, guilty plea to conspiracy to use fire to commit wire fraud.

Evidence presented by the United States at the change of plea hearings and sentencings revealed that Weimer hired a tenant, Lisa Young, to burn down the rental property where Ms. Young was living.  Ms. Young recruited her adult children into the conspiracy as well as her ex-husband.  After an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the residence, the conspirators tried again, and successfully burned the rental property, putting first responders, neighbors, and insurance adjustors at risk.  Ms. Weimer then received $78,593.25 from the insurance company for her bogus insurance claim.

Weimer was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett.  Weimer was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed, and she was ordered to make $78,593.25 plus interest in restitution to State Farm Insurance.  She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Previously Ashley Straight, Gerald Straight, and Lisa Young were sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy receiving prison sentences of 13 months imprisonment each for Ashley Straight and Gerald Straight and 7 months imprisonment for Lisa Young.

Weimer is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until she can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Office of State Fire Marshal and Department of Criminal Investigation, Deputies of the Webster County Sheriff’s Office, Officers of the Fort Dodge Police Department and Investigators of State Farm Insurances’ Special Investigation Unit.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild.  

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.  The case file number is 13-3035.

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Updated February 19, 2015