Seven Dallas Residents Indicted for Intentionally Torching Homes to Get Red Cross Dough

Categories: Crime
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This just in from the U.S. Attorney's Office: Seven locals, ranging in age from 23 to 60, are accused of setting three fires that caused close to $1 million in total property damage in order to collect a few thousand from the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross. The seven, which includes a mother and daughter, were indicted by a federal grand jury July 7, but it was unsealed today pending a September 27 court date in front of U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle. All seven -- charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and arson -- have pleaded not guilty, and all have been released on bond.

According to the feds, between December '08 and May '09, the seven conspired to set fire to three residences -- apartments on Dilido Road and Wadsworth Drive and a rent house on Racine Drive -- in order to collect a little scratch from the Red Cross. But, feds allege, things looked a little suspicious: In all three instances, the indicted "removed household items and other valuables" before torching their respective joints.

The indictment and U.S. Attorney's release follow.
SEVEN DALLAS RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH INTENTIONALLY SETTING FIRES TO COLLECT AMERICAN RED CROSS ASSISTANCE FUNDS


DALLAS - A federal indictment has been unsealed that charges seven Dallas residents, including a mother and daughter, with various felony offenses related to their involvement in three arson fires committed in Dallas from December 2008 through May 2009, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

The following individuals are named in the indictment:

Marthella Broadus, 35
Lashay Kelly, 23
Kenneth Hunter, 23
Kevin Hunter, 25
Georgialyn Guice, 26
Juanita L. Broadus, 60
Kenneth E. Smith, 26
All defendants were arrested and released on bond. They have all pleaded not guilty; trial is set before U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle on September 27, 2010.

Marthella Broadus, is charged with three counts of wire fraud, three counts of arson and two counts of using fire to commit a felony. Lashay Kelly, Juanita L. Broadus (Marthella Broadus' mother) and Kenneth E. Smith, are each charged with one count of wire fraud, arson and using fire to commit a felony. Kenneth Hunter, Kevin Hunter and Georgialyn Guice are each charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of arson.

The 2900 Dilido Avenue Fire

According to the indictment, in late May 2009, Marthella Broadus and Lashay Kelly agreed to set fire to Kelly's apartment located at 2900 Dilido Avenue in Dallas, in order to receive financial assistance from the American Red Cross. As part of their scheme, they removed household items and other valuables from the apartment. On May 31, 2001, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside Kelly's apartment that caused approximately $700,000 in property damage.

Immediately after the fire, Kelly met with an American Red Cross case worker and falsely advised that seven household occupants were displaced from her apartment and that she lost all of her personal belongings in the fire. The Red Cross then issued a Client Assistance Card to Kelly, in the amount of $1885, to cover items lost such as food and clothes. Marthella Broadus and Kelly used this card to purchase approximately $300 in merchandise from a retailer in Dallas and to withdraw approximately $1520 in cash from an ATM.

The 4950 Wadsworth Drive Fire

According to the indictment, from late April though May 5, 2009, Marthella Broadus, Kenneth Hunter, Kevin Hunter and Georgialyn Guice agreed to set fire to Kenneth Hunter's apartment located at 4950 Wadsworth Drive in Dallas, in order to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross. On May 3, 2009, Kevin Hunter removed household items and other valuables from Kenneth Hunter's apartment. On May 3, 2009, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside Kenneth Hunter's apartment, causing approximately $250,000 in property damage.

Immediately after the fire, Kenneth Hunter met with a Red Cross case worker and falsely stated that eight household occupants were displaced from his apartment and that he lost of all of his personal belongings in the fire. The Red Cross issued a Client Assistance Card, in the amount of $2015 to Kenneth Hunter. That same day, Marthella Broadus, Kenneth Hunter, Kevin Hunter and Georgialyn Guice used the card to withdraw approximately $2000 from an ATM in Dallas.

The 7925 Racine Drive Fire

According to the indictment, in December 2008, Marthella Broadus, Juanita L. Broadus and Kenneth E. Smith, agreed to set fire to Marthella Broadus's rental house at 7925 Racine Drive in Dallas, to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross. On December 8, 2008, Marthella and Juanita Broadus, along with Kenneth E. Smith, removed household items and other valuable items from Marthella Broadus's house. On December 9, 2008, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside her house, causing more than $16,000 in property damage. Marthella Broadus then met with a Red Cross caseworker and falsely stated that 17 household occupants were displaced from her house and that she lost all of her belongings in the fire. The Red Cross issued a Client Assistance Card worth $1745 to Marthella Broadus to cover items lost in the fire. Between December 10 and December 13, 2008, Marthella Broadus, Juanita L. Broadus and Kenneth E. Smith made approximately $1740 worth of purchases and withdrawals using this card.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted however, the maximum statutory sentence for wire fraud, per count, is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory sentence, per count, for using fire to commit a felony is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first offense or 20 years in prison in the case of a second or subsequent conviction. The maximum statutory sentence for arson, per count, is not less than five or more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"Arson is a crime that negatively affects everyone in the community. During the last fiscal year, there was nearly $14 million in fire loss in the city of Dallas due to arson. I would like to thank agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their help on this case," said Joe Pierce, Deputy Chief, Dallas Fire-Rescue Department.

Chief Pierce went on to say, "If you know of anyone who has committed the crime of arson in the city, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-373-8477 or visit www.NTCC.CRIMESTOPPERSWEB.COM . The Crime Stoppers Program offers a reward up to $5000 for tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of person(s) that commit arson."

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Brown is in charge of the prosecution.
Broadus Et Al Indictment
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