By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a potentially catastrophic arson insurance fraud which netted him over $127,000. The arson fire went to two alarms and although, fortunately no one was injured, it destroyed the building and threatened other homes, businesses, a school and interrupted public transportation near Bustleton Avenue in the far Northeast.
Prosecutor Mark Dubnoff says 31-year-old Michael Giamo paid his best friend to torch the building housing Giamo’s failing auto repair shop, but the friend got cold feet.
“Instead of setting fire to the place himself, what he did instead was to hire a migrant worker. He paid him a couple of hundred dollars to set the fire for him,” said Dubnoff.
That stranger, found in a home repair store parking lot, has never been identified or charged. Giamo’s co-conspirator friend cooperated, recorded conversations with Giamo, in which Giamo discussed the arson fire, and told his friend to get rid of his computer because it had “hard evidence” on it.
The cooperating co-defendant was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.