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Investigation Placed Him Near Scene of Crime
WASHINGTON – Jamel Carelock, 28, the pastor of a Baltimore church, pled guilty today to setting fire to an apartment he rented in Southeast Washington in a plan to collect insurance money, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Thomas L. Chittum III, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Carelock, pastor of Lead Church, pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to charges of arson, felony destruction of property, and second-degree insurance fraud. The trial in the case was scheduled to begin on Aug. 28, 2018. The Honorable Jennifer A. Di Toro scheduled sentencing for Oct. 26, 2018.
According to the government’s evidence, on Dec. 17, 2017, at approximately 1 a.m., Carelock intentionally set fire to his apartment unit in a complex in the 2500 block of R Street SE. Carelock soaked his mattress with gasoline and lit the mattress on fire, causing the fire to burn and causing extensive damage to his unit and the surrounding apartments.
The apartment complex includes 94 units, and the residents included small children and elderly individuals, who were home at the time of the fire and forced to evacuate. The fire caused more than $40,000 worth of damage and rendered at least one of the neighboring apartments uninhabitable. A law enforcement investigation revealed that Carelock had applied for an insurance policy eight days prior to the fire. He later filed a claim for more than $11,000 in damage to his property, with the intent to defraud the insurance company.
In making the insurance claim, the evidence showed, Carelock presented materially false information. He misrepresented that he was not responsible for the fire, falsely claimed that he was in Georgia at the time of the blaze, and falsely claimed that he lost personal items, to include suits and a television. In fact, Carelock had removed those items from the unit before the fire and he still had them at the time that he made the insurance claim.
The investigation also determined that Carelock’s cell phone was one mile away from the fire, five minutes after the fire alarm was pulled. Carelock was arrested on Jan. 19, 2018 and has been in custody ever since.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Chittum, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the ATF and MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Elizabeth Trosman, Chief of the Appellate Division; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chrisellen Kolb, Julianne Johnston, John Hill, and Veronica Sanchez; Librarian Lisa Kosow, and Paralegal Specialist Debra McPherson.
Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristina Wolf, Alissa Kempler and Melissa Price, who investigated and prosecuted the case.
Would you shoot yourself in the arm just to risk jail time and being criminally charged with fraud? Former Police Officer Bryan Eubanks would, and he was recently sentenced for doing just that.
Eubanks is a former Newcomerstown Police Officer who was sentenced on February 12th for several charges relating to a fake report that he had been shot on duty last April. His charges included inducing panic, making false alarms, tampering with evidence, forgery and workers compensation fraud.
Eubanks received 90 days in jail, a $2,500 fine and 500 hours of community service.
According to Cleveland 19 News, an investigation revealed that Eubanks had shot himself and made up a story about stopping a car whose driver opened fire. The story also caused a widespread manhunt for the imaginary gunman.
Eubanks later admitted he was lying.
Eubanks’ attorney lays at least part of the blame on the former policeman being stressed to the breaking point, saying he suffering night terrors and telling Judge Edward O'Farrell, "Not everyone is cut out to be a police officer. He's not one of them."
On the other side of the argument, prosecutor Christian Sticken noted that Eubanks even went so far as to name a suspect -- a real, live innocent person. He added, "He didn't have to do that. He gave such detail, what clothing he was wearing. Things that were hard to see, they became suspicious.”
Eubanks has been fired by the police department and his peace officer certification will be revoked.
Workers' Comp Fraud, Ohio
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