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Justice News

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pittsburgh-area Woman Admits Setting House Fire then Defrauding Insurance Company

PITTSBURGH - An Allegheny County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of malicious destruction of property by fire and wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Andrea Forsythe, 27, of Oakdale, Pa. pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry.

In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that Forsythe set fire to a residential structure located in Sturgeon, Pa., which structure was a rental home where she had been residing, so that she could obtain money from the insurance company which provided coverage on that structure. The wire fraud charge states Forsythe engaged in a scheme to defraud Nationwide Insurance company in connection with the claim she made for the fire loss on or about June 20, 2014.

Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for Oct. 21, 2016. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Forsythe will remain in custody pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Forsythe.

Updated July 23, 2016