Edmonds woman indicted for April 2018 arson at Highway 99 store
Indictment alleges owner of CJN Miniatures & More set fire to claim insurance funds as business struggled to pay rent
Seattle—An Edmonds, Washington, business owner was arrested today on an indictment charging her with arson and wire fraud related to the April 30, 2018, fire at her business, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. CONNIE L. BIGELOW, 52, will make her initial appearance on the indictment at 2:00 today.
The indictment alleges that BIGELOW set fire to her business to collect insurance money as the store was struggling to make enough money to pay the rent. BIGELOW moved her business, CJN Miniatures LLC, into the building at 23030 Highway 99, in Edmonds in September 2017. The store maintained an inventory of miniatures and collectables for sale, consigned items on behalf of other individuals, and rented out space to other vendors. Between October 2017 and April 2018, the business fell behind in rental payments and payments to consigners. BIGELOW bounced checks as she over drafted her bank account.
BIGELOW carried an insurance policy with State Farm Fire and Casualty Company that covered up to $100,000 in loss of business personal property, as well as loss of income. The policy did not cover loss arising from arson.
The indictment alleges that BIGELOW set the fire underneath three Thomas Kinkade paintings worth thousands of dollars. On or about May 1, 2018, BIGELOW initiated a claim to State Farm for the losses arising from the fire. On May 3, 2018, BIGELOW communicated with the insurance agent via email as part of the wire fraud scheme. BIGELOW made false statements to law enforcement, as well as representatives of State Farm as part of the scheme to defraud.
Following the fire, BIGELOW reopened the store as “Miniatures & More” on 5th Avenue in Edmonds.
Arson is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison and up to 20 years in prison. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), along with the Snohomish County Fire Marshals Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amy Jaquette.