Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Arson
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today Michael Fijal, 61, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, in May 2011, Fijal, a local bank employee, conspired with others to burn down a duplex at 179 Mackinaw Street which is located in Buffalo's Old First Ward neighborhood. The defendant withdrew money from a local bank for the purpose of paying an accomplice to burn the building and paying the accomplice both before and after the fire on May 22, 2011.
The plea is the result of investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge James S. Higgins, New York Field Division, and Investigators with the Buffalo Fire Department, under the direction of Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.Sentencing is scheduled for January 16, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.