A Macomb County business owner pleaded guilty yesterday to intentionally setting a fire at his commercial laundry facility to collect on an insurance policy, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Steven Bogdalek, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm, and Explosives (ATF).
Alexandros Yfantidis, 74, of Clinton Township, admitted in court that on May 4, 2011, he intentionally burned down the building housing his commercial laundry service, which he operated as Best Textile Services. In pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud, Yfantidis admitted making a fraudulent claim to his insurance company in relation to fire. His agreement with the government calls for restitution to reimburse victims whose homes and/or personal properties were damaged by the fire explosion.
U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III, set Yfantidis’s sentencing for June 5.
“Committing any fraud scheme harms victims, but intentionally setting a fire creates a danger to public safety that far exceeds the financial loss,” McQuade said. McQuade thanked the agents of ATF for their investigation of the case. She also thanked the Warren Fire Department for assisting in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abed Hammoud.
“As we know arson for profit crimes have many victims. Mr. Yfantidis chose to break the law for his personal gain by putting community and fire fighters at significant risk”, said ATF Special Agent in Charge Steven Bogdalek. “I would like to thank the ATF Special Agents, the Warren Fire Department and the United States Attorney’s office for their hard work and dedication in this investigation.”
For information concerning restitution potential victims are encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Coordinator at (313) 226-9633 or Tiesha Johnson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at (313)202-3400