LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas man and his mother have been indicted by the federal grand jury on charges that they destroyed the mini-mart store they owned in North Las Vegas in order to collect the insurance proceeds, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Peter Argyris, 46, of Las Vegas, and his mother, Joann Argyris, 67, of Boulder City, Nev. are charged with conspiracy to commit arson, arson resulting in death, use of fire to commit mail fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and criminal forfeiture. They were arrested yesterday evening by ATF Special Agents, and are scheduled for an arraignment and plea at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr. If convicted, they face up to life in prison on the conspiracy and arson charges, 10 years consecutive on the use of fire to commit mail fraud charge, up to 20 years in prison on each mail fraud charge, and fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
“The allegations against the defendants are very serious,” said U.S. Bogden. “Not only did the fire destroy the property, but a life was lost. We will use federal resources to ensure that the persons who committed this crime for monetary gain are convicted and punished.”
"Death by an act of arson is a heinous crime and leaves a devastating impact on the victim’s family and the community," said Special Agent in Charge, Joseph M. Riehl. "ATF and its partners will aggressively pursue this investigation and bring those responsible to justice."
According to the allegations in the indictment, in 2010, the defendants and their company, Argyris Enterprises, LLC, owned a commercial property located at 3820 E. Craig Road in North Las Vegas, which housed a gas station, convenience store and restaurant called the JCW Mini-Mart. The defendants held an insurance policy on the property for approximately $4.7 million. From about June to September 2010, the defendants conspired and devised a scheme to intentionally burn down the mini-mart in order to collect the insurance proceeds. On Sept. 19, 2010, the defendants caused the mini-mart to be destroyed by fire, which resulted in the death of B.D. In December 2010, Peter Argyris submitted an insurance claim seeking approximately $1.4 million for the replacement cost of the building and loss of business income, and falsely represented that the fire damage did not originate by any act of his own.
This case is being investigated by ATF, the North Las Vegas Fire Department, and the North Las Vegas Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip N. Smith, Jr.