Federal arson trial begins today

WARREN — A jury trial is scheduled to begin today for a Warren man accused of paying out cash and drugs to set fire to properties he owned in order to collect insurance money, according to court documents.

Daryl Evans of Warren is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud, two counts of using fire in commission of a felony and two charges of destroying or damaging property used in interstate commerce in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio.

A fire set Aug. 19, 2013, at 1628 Hamilton St. SW, damaged parts of the second floor before it was put out by the Warren City Fire Department, according to a prosecutor’s brief. Evans owned the house. The tenant was in the hospital at the time it was set, the brief states.

Evans asked his brother and co-defendant to burn down the house for the insurance money and his brother, Maurice Evans, hired a “drug addict” to set the fire, paying him at a bar after with “drugs and cash,” the brief states.

An insurance investigator determined two fires on the second floor were intentionally set, but paid out $6,000 to Evans, on the condition the house was fixed, the brief states. Later in 2013, Evans’ tenant moved back in after repairs were made. But, in spring 2014, the tenant moved out and four more fires were set inside the house after Evans hired his brother, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office contend. State Farm gave Evans another check, the brief states.

When another of Evans’ properties became vacant, 267 Parkman Road, Evans asked his brother to set it on fire, but Maurice Evans declined, the brief states.

But David White agreed to set it on fire and did so Jan. 4, 2015, leading to another insurance payout from State Farm, the brief states.

The FBI started investigating, and Maurice Evans agreed to secretly record his brother and others involved, the brief states. The recordings included discussion about prior payments and future fires for profit, according to prosecutors.

The court denied Evans’ attorneys attempts to dismiss some of the charges against him.

The alleged scheme cost State Farm more than $100,000, according to the indictment.

Maurice Evans pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 6, according to court records.

White pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced May 8, according to court records.

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