Phoenix Businessman Accused of Setting Fire to Collect $120,050 in Insurance Funds
ARIZONA - MAY 31, 2018
A Phoenix businessman was arrested on suspicion of setting a fire to his own warehouse to collect $120,050 in insurance money, state officials said.
Mohamed Abdelrahman, 41, was arrested and later indicted by a State Grand Jury on charges of arson and insurance fraud, Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Wednesday.
Abdelrahman's furniture business was inside a leased commercial warehouse at 6845 N. 21st Ave., near Glendale and 19th avenues in Phoenix, Brnovich said.
Abdelrahman is accused of having increased his existing property insurance policy and having taken out an additional policy just days before the fire, Brnovich said.
A 911 call was placed by Abdelrahman on Nov. 1, 2017, at 3:31 a.m., Brnovich said.
Abdelrahman was later accused of tampering with surveillance equipment to conceal his involvement and using gasoline to start the fire, Brnovich said.
Abdelrahman was in the area of the storage facility when the fire was discovered and used his vehicle to block first responders from entering the location, saying his vehicle broke down in front of the facility entrance, said Stephen Briggs, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Insurance.
Abdelrahman was later interviewed by insurance adjusters, where he misrepresented details and facts during the claim process, Briggs said.
"During the claim process, Mr. Abdelrahman pushed for a fast settlement, and even filed complaints with the Arizona Department of Insurance Consumer Affairs Division, requesting assistance because the insurance companies were not paying him for his losses," Briggs said.
The Phoenix Fire Investigations Unit and the Department of Insurance were involved during the four-month investigation, Briggs said.
Abdelrahman faces four felony charges, including one count of arson of a structure, two counts of filing a false insurance claim and one count of forgery, Brnovich said.
If found guilty, Abdelrahman could receive up to 12 1/2 years in prison, Briggs said.