Texas Man Convicted of $1.7M Arson, Insurance Fraud Scheme

October 23, 2019

A southeast Texas man has been found guilty charges related to an arson and insurance fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

According to U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown, a jury found Patrick Wayne Bronnon of Groves, Texas, guilty of 40 charges, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud and use of a fire in commission of a felony.

After an eight-day trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone, the jury deliberated approximately 75 minutes before returning with a guilty verdict.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas says that information presented in court shows that beginning in 2011, Bronnon, and others, began executing a scheme to defraud various insurance companies through fraudulent claims on homes and vehicles.

The scheme involved buying low value property through a co-defendant straw purchaser. Within a few weeks of a down payment being made, Bronnon or an associate would intentionally damage the home, typically by fire or water, in order to collect insurance proceeds.

In total, nine fraudulent fire claims, three fraudulent water damage claims, and two fraudulent theft claims were filed with various insurance companies on nine different addresses, totaling approximately $1.7 million in fraudulent payments.

The properties were located in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Beaumont and Sugarland, Texas.

Bronnon faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing for the conspiracy and mail fraud counts and up to 70 years for the use of fire in commission of a felony violations. The sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, National Insurance Crime Bureau and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher T. Tortorice and K.P. Kennedy Gates.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas

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