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Man indicted in connection with 2022 South Side fire

Early-morning fire on South Side considered suspicious
Early-morning fire on South Side considered suspicious 01:35

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A man is accused of asking someone to set fire to a South Side building so he could benefit from the insurance policy, federal prosecutors said. 

A federal grand jury indicted 47-year-old Prasad Margabandhu of Pittsburgh on charges of bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to maliciously destroy property by fire and malicious destruction of property by fire, United States Attorney Eric Olshan announced on Thursday.

Citing the indictment, prosecutors said Margabandhu schemed to defraud the bankruptcy court by filing multiple bankruptcy petitions in the names of companies he controlled to delay efforts by creditors to execute judgments on a property at 1925 East Carson Street. 

According to the indictment, in June of 2022, Margabandhu asked someone to set the property on fire so he could benefit from the insurance property. Afterward, investigators said Margabandhu negotiated payment that the person would receive for setting the fire. 

Firefighters were called to the scene between 19th and 20th streets around 3:50 a.m. that morning. The fire damaged neighboring buildings, but no one was injured. 

A next-door neighbor told KDKA-TV he woke up to his smoke alarm going off and saw smoke coming out of the building. Firefighters said the fire quickly went to four alarms because of how close the buildings were and other challenges. 

At the time, Pittsburgh Public Safety called the fire suspicious. 

Then in August of last year, prosecutors said Margabandhu committed mail fraud to further his scheme. 

The charges against Margabandhu come after an investigation by the ATF, IRS, FBI and Office of the United States Trustee. 

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