Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

How Not to Commit Arson

An Attempt to Profit from Arson Fails


Leave a comment

Read the full story at and see the full video at and at and at plus more than 4500 posts.

This is a fictionalized true crime story of insurance fraud from an expert who explains why insurance fraud is a “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” situation for Insurers.

The District Attorney, although he knew of the insurer’s interest in the case and the lawsuit pending against it did not advise the insurer of the deal. Of course, had the insurer known that the insured was going to plead guilty to insurance fraud they would have paid nothing.

The case was never tried. Two days after the settlement was paid in the civil action and more than five years after the fire, the Insured appeared in criminal court and pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud. He was given probation. The case wasn’t a priority matter to the prosecutor since only an insurance company was being hurt. The fact that the insurer was required to defend a bad faith suit for five years at enormous cost was of no apparent concern to the prosecutors.

The Insured did not profit from the fire with a cash award. He was relieved of his mortgage debt [which the insurer was required to pay to the mortgagee who had not been culpable in the arson] and he paid his lawyer one third of the $2,000 settlement. Since the insured was judgment proof the insurer lost, as uncollectable, the amount paid to the mortgagee and sold the bare land.
Interestingly, the arson investigator who worked so hard to find evidence to arrest the insured was later arrested and convicted as a serial arsonist.

Apparently, he was upset that there was an arson fire in his town that he did not set.

Adapted from my book Insurance Fraud Costs Everyone available at

(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

Subscribe and receive videos limited to subscribers of Excellence in Claims Handling at

Consider subscribing to my publications at substack at

Go to
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, is available at


Follow me on LinkedIn:

Go to the Insurance Claims Library –

Excellence in Claims Handling
Zalma on Insurance
Blog posts digesting new appellate decisions and free videos about insurance claims and insurance law.
Barry Zalma