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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Arson

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Christopher Gorman, 51, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty conspiracy to damage a building used in an activity affecting interstate commerce by means of fire and an explosive before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White, who is handling the case, stated that on the night of June 12, 2014, Gorman had been drinking with Lowell Carey and Ryan Smolinski at Carey’s house. Smolinski was upset that his father was losing his business, Western New York Property Contractors, located at 349 Ontario Street, in Buffalo which he co-owned with another individual. Smolinski asked Carey and Gorman if they would help him burn the building. They agreed and made two Molotov cocktails using beer bottles they had been drinking from and gasoline and a t-shirt as a wick.

Thereafter, in the early morning hours of June 13, 2014, Gorman, Smolinski, and Carey proceeded to Western New York Property Contractors where Carey lit and threw one of the Molotov cocktails onto the roof of the building. Smolinski lit and placed the other Molotov cocktail underneath a garage door on the side of the building with Gorman’s assistance. The outside of the building was burned in the areas where the Molotov cocktails were located resulting in approximately $2,207.89 in damages.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Division, and the Buffalo Fire Department under the direction of Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield, Jr.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 2, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

Updated July 19, 2016