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Michigan man found guilty of arson in 2019 house fire

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Oct. 2, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Oct. 2, 2023 04:14

(CBS DETROIT) - A 42-year-old Michigan man charged with setting a house on fire for an insurance claim has been found guilty, the Michigan Attorney General's office announced Monday.

Patrick Nolan, of Plymouth, was charged with one count of arson of an insured dwelling and one count of second-degree arson. Officials say each charge may include a $20,000 fine or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater, according to a press release.

First responders were called to the Plymouth Township home, which Nolan owned, on Jan. 1, 2019.

An investigation later determined that the fire originated in three places -- the master bedroom, the basement storage room, and the common hall at the top of the basement stairs. Authorities also found a liquid throughout the home, identified as gasoline.

Investigators concluded that Nolan started the fire himself and attempted to make an insurance claim for the loss. A review of the infotainment system in his truck revealed he was parked at the home less than two hours before a neighbor reported the fire.

"Every arson represents another instance where our firefighters and first responders risk their lives to protect public safety, and that's an unacceptable danger to our communities," said Attorney General Dana Nessel in the press release. "I am grateful for the investigative collaboration between my Department and the Fraud Investigation Unit at the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, that ultimately lead to these criminal convictions. Insurance fraud drives up the costs of insurance policies for consumers everywhere." 

Nolan is scheduled to appear for sentencing on Oct. 17.

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