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Press Release

Kouts, Indiana Man Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Indiana
For Fraud Following Multiple Arson Fires

SOUTH BEND - Michael Thomas, age 42, of Kouts, Indiana, was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Jon E. DeGuilio for four counts of mail fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch. 

Thomas was sentenced to 90 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.  Thomas was charged in 2018 with four counts of mail fraud for his role in a scheme to defraud insurance companies by arson fires.  On September 28, 2018, a jury found him guilty of all counts.  Today, the Court also ordered him to pay restitution to State Farm Insurance Company in the amount of $426,227.31 and Foremost Insurance Company in the amount of $115,522.27.

According to documents in this case, from 2004 through 2013, Thomas and others executed a scheme to defraud insurance companies by setting fires to mobile homes in a mobile home park located in North Judson, Indiana.  Thomas and associates submitted insurance claims immediately after the fires resulting in insurance payouts totaling $616,749.58.  The first fire occurred at 2691 Julia Drive on September 17, 2004, a mobile home owned and occupied by Thomas.  In November 2010, several more fires occurred: a home and garage owned by Thomas and his wife at 5081 South 275 West Street; a home at 5326 South A Street; and two unoccupied mobile homes not owned by Thomas at 2729 West Airstream Court and 5370 Holiday Street.  In the early part of 2013, still another mobile home owned by Thomas caught fire located at 5101 South 275 West.  Finally, on April 16, 2013, firefighters extinguished a fire at Mr. Thomas’ 2691 Julia Drive property, but firefighters needed to return several hours later to extinguish another fire at the home. 

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the Indiana State Fire Marshal and the Indiana State Police.  The case was tried by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse Barrett, and later handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Hays



Updated September 24, 2019

Financial Fraud