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3 convicted in Hereford House arson

Three people have been convicted in connection with a suspected arson case that occurred at the Hereford House in 2008. The suspects, who ranged in age from 46 to 59 years old, were found guilty of conspiracy when they decided to burn their business in order to claim the insurance money. All of the defendants faced federal charges associated with the incident, including mail fraud, using fire to commit a federal crime, and arson.

The three convicts have not yet been sentenced, but experts say that the trio could face significant prison time for their crimes. Federal arson convictions carry mandatory five-year sentences, and using fire to commit a federal crime could lead to a 10-year sentence.

Information from the trial shows that the men were accused of torching their business after realizing that they would soon go out of business because of increased competition. The Hereford House, a local landmark, had opened in 1957, but the men were unable to keep up with maintenance on the facility. The co-owner of the business convinced the other two men to help him burn the business, which led to a $2.4 million insurance claim. The owner intended to use the money for renovations.

Surveillance video from the scene revealed that the three men had been on the premises shortly before the fire. The two co-conspirators had also visited the business before the blaze, according to authorities. The convicts thought they had removed the video recording device from the premises, when in fact they only deactivated a dummy system designed to fool burglars.

The three defendants have not yet been sentenced, but experts say that the trio could face significant prison time for their crimes. Federal arson convictions carry mandatory five-year sentences, and using fire to commit a federal crime could lead to a 10-year sentence. Two of the defendants were exonerated of the mail fraud charge.

Cases involving multiple defendants require a lot of attention from each of the accused's respective attorneys. While all of the defendants have criminal charges weighted against them, it is important for their lawyers to evaluate the involvement (if any) their client had in the crime. Contacting an attorney who understands the intricacies of criminal law is important for someone facing charges to do immediately.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "All defendants guilty in Hereford House arson," Mark Morris, Oct. 31, 2012

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