A man pleaded guilty on Tuesday after staging a fire at his property, claiming he was targeted for being a Trump supporter, and bilking both donors and an insurance company of money.
Denis Vladmirovich Molla, a.k.a., Dennis Molla, accepted a count of wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. The court has yet to schedule sentencing. Federal prosecutors suggest a sentencing guideline of 41 to 51 months in prison — meaning three years and five months to four years and three months.
He asserted he was targeted because of the “Trump 2020” flags draped over his trucks. His home reportedly suffered only minor damage, and he was able to save four puppies from his garage. Graffiti on his garage read “Biden 2020,” and “BLM,” meaning Black Lives Matter. The BLM graffiti was punctuated with the anarchy symbol.
“It just shocked me,” Molla had said. “This kind of stuff should not happen, especially over beliefs of some sort.”
Molla claimed there were three unknown men near his home when he heard the explosion, prosecutors said.
“In reality, as the defendant well knew, the defendant started his own property on fire, the defendant spray painted the graffiti on his own property, and there were no unknown males near his home,” authorities wrote in the plea agreement.
They said it was Molla who actually set fire to his camper.
Molla submitted multiple insurance claims to a company for coverage to his garage, camper, vehicles, and home, but when the organization denied some of those, he asserted they were the ones defrauding him, authorities said.
He wrote an email to the insurance company with the subject line “Dennis Molla Arson Hate Crime September 23,” according to the document.
Molla made claims of more than $300,000 and received approximately $61,000, authorities said.
“The defendant also threatened to report Victim Insurance Company A to the Department of Commerce and the Attorney General,” federal prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement.
He also started and let other people start two GoFundMe accounts, authorities said. Again, he reiterated his threat to the insurance company, prosecutors said.
“The defendant provided written comments on both GoFundMe accounts documenting the property losses that he suffered, thanking the numerous donors, and reiterating his threat to Victim Insurance Company A,” authorities said. “The defendant withdrew thousands of dollars donated to the two GoFundMe accounts and deposited the donated money into his personal Wells Fargo bank account.”
He got more than $17,000 from those donors, prosecutors said.
“Mr. Molla was obviously remorseful during his federal plea hearing yesterday,” attorney Ryan Garry told Law&Crime in an email on Wednesday. “He is a wonderful husband and father who made a mistake that he sincerely regrets. Unlike many others, he has accepted full responsibility for his actions and is sorry for what happened.”
Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via KARE]
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