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Justice News

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Olin Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud And Using Fire To Commit A Federal Felony

A man who submitted a fraudulent insurance claim after deliberately setting fire to his vacant home pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

James Marvin Plower, age 50, from Olin, Iowa, was convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony.

At the plea hearing, Plower admitted that, between about July 2013 and August 2014, he made upon a scheme to defraud his insurance company.  Plower admitted that, as part of the scheme, he deliberately set fire to his vacant home in Martelle, Iowa, and then submitted an insurance claim in which he falsely claimed the fire was accidental.  Plower also admitted that, as part of the scheme, he caused the insurance company to mail him a check for $66,497.46.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Plower was released on bond pending sentencing.  Plower faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $200 in special assessments, and up to 6 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated by Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.

Court file information is available at  The case file number is 15-CR-12-LRR.

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Updated March 5, 2015