N.Y. Man Charged with Insurance Fraud for Tow Yard Arson Causing $100K in Damages

November 9, 2020

A New York man has been charged with arson and other crimes after allegedly setting fire to vehicles in a tow yard and filing an insurance claim to collect the cash.

Egor Spiridonov, of Broad Channel, Queens, has been charged with arson, criminal mischief and other crimes for allegedly setting fire to his own tractor truck in a tow company’s lot after the vehicle had been impounded. The July 2020 blaze burned Spiridonov’s vehicle and multiple other automobiles, as well as a building on the lot, causing more than $100,000 in damages.

“The defendant allegedly set a fire that not only destroyed his property but others’ belongings as well and then he tried to profit from his own alleged criminal actions,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in a press release issued by her office. “An FDNY investigation foiled the defendant’s plans.”

Katz said Spiridonov allegedly targeted B&M Towing after a worker towed the Volvo tractor truck that he owns with his girlfriend. The vehicle was impounded for allegedly having several overdue parking violations.

According to the investigation, Spiridonov’s girlfriend – who also jointly co-owns a business with him – made multiple calls to retrieve the vehicle from the tow lot without success. On July 20, 2020, between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m., video surveillance allegedly shows the defendant entering B&M Towing’s lot and setting fire to the 2008 Volvo Tractor and a flatbed tow truck.

Surveillance video shows Spiridonov and another unidentified individual allegedly entered the tow yard from atop a shipping container in the rear of the property. Spiridonov pulled two bottles from inside of his clothing, approached a tow truck and doused it with liquid believed to have been an accelerant. He then allegedly poured liquid onto the flatbed tow truck.

Moments later, using a lighter, he reached through the window of the flatbed tow truck and started a fire. In an instant, there was a vapor explosion that blew flames directly into his face. Spiridonov reeled back and clutched his face, then allegedly continued on to his vehicle and set it on fire as well.

According to the complaint, the fire quickly spread to a building and other vehicles on the lot. When the flames were extinguished, there was more than $100,000 in damages.

Several days later on July 24, 2020, Spiridonov and his girlfriend contacted the insurance company and allegedly reported their tractor, valued at approximately $30,000, completely destroyed. He reportedly told an insurance agent he had been on a fishing trip when the truck was damaged.

Investigators reported that when Spiridonov was interviewed, he had injuries to his face that were not present before the alleged arson incident, including visible signs of burn injuries and trauma to his left eye and face.

Spiridonov was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Scott Dunn on a complaint charging him with criminal mischief in the second degree, arson in the third degree, insurance fraud in the third degree, falsifying business records in the first degree, trespass and reckless endangerment in the second degree.

Judge Dunn ordered the defendant to return to court on February 10, 2021. If convicted, Spirindonov faces up to 15 years in prison.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in the release that FDNY Fire Marshals thoroughly investigate every arson fire and work to apprehend those who use fire to harm others or for financial gain.

“This fire was a senseless act that escalated to a second alarm, damaging property and endangering the lives of more than 100 Firefighters who responded to bring it under control,” he said.

Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Source: Queens County District Attorney’s Office

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