CHARLESTON, WVa McDowell County man pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge stemming from an arson and insurance fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, 52-year-old Douglas Vineyard, of Welch, admitted he bought a house on Princeton Street in Bluefield, West Virginia for $5,000 on July 1, 2019. On July 31, Vineyard bought an insurance policy on the house.
The coverage included for $285,500 for the dwelling, $142,750 for the contents and $14,275 for other structures. Vineyard stated that the purchase price for the house was $50,000 instead of $5,000 on the insurance application. In early August, Vineyard made an agreement with other individuals to burn the house down and collect the insurance proceeds. On August 6, 2019, the individuals set the house on fire.
The house was a total loss.
Vineyard faxed a Sworn Statement of Proof of Loss seeking $285,500 in insurance proceeds for the house. The insurance company spent over $13,000 investigating Vineyard’s false claim, ultimately denying it.
This week Vineyard pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 18, 2022.