West Virginia Insurance Agent, Building Owner Sentenced for Arson Scheme

May 27, 2014

A West Virginia insurance agent and a building owner were sentenced in federal court last week in connection with a Logan arson scheme.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said that James Gregory Glick, 44, of Logan, was sentenced to seven years, three months in prison, while William Jamey Thompson, 45, of Chapmanville, was sentenced to five years in prison, both for a conspiracy to burn a building in downtown Logan and fraudulently collect the insurance proceeds.

According to officials, in January 2012, Glick purchased a commercial building located at 111 Stratton Street in Logan for $50,000, across the street from the restaurant he owned and operated, the 317 Steakhouse (“317”). He then worked with Thompson, owner of the insurance agency Baisden & Associates, to obtain a $1 million insurance policy on the property from General Star Indemnity Co. Thompson, in exchange for placing coverage, received $50,000.

During the early hours of February 1, 2012, co-conspirator Guy R. Miller Jr., of Logan, enlisted the assistance of Shawn C. Simon of Charleston, and Michael D. Williams of Logan, to help torch the building. Williams spread approximately 15 gallons of fuel throughout the first floor of the building. When he lit the match, the fumes ignited, creating an explosion that blew the top of the building’s exterior across the street. The three culprits were caught on 317’s security camera; Glick had Miller and Simon destroy the restaurant’s digital video recorder in order to conceal the crime.

Without sufficient evidence of the arson, General Star paid Glick the $1,010,000 insurance policy proceeds in May 2012, and Glick began sharing the money with his co-conspirators. In June 2013, criminal investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, working with the West Virginia State Police, seized the remaining $450,000 in fraud proceeds from accounts controlled by Glick. Over the course of the next six weeks, the agents developed cooperating witnesses, who obtained audio and video recordings of efforts by Glick to obstruct the federal grand jury investigation by paying Miller $8,000 to provide false testimony if he was called as a witness, officials said.

The conspirators were indicted in late August 2013 and ultimately pled guilty to their respective roles in the conspiracy to commit arson and to defraud General Star.

In addition to the $1,010,000 restitution order to repay General Star, the court also ordered Glick and Thompson to reimburse the City of Logan $3,900 for emergency personnel response costs.

Miller is set to be sentenced on May 28, 2014. Williams and Simon will be sentenced on May 29, 2014.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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