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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sinnemahoning Man Gets 15 Years For Arson

Businessman gets 15 years for burning his own store

By R.A. WALKER - rwalker@sungazette.com

A businessman was sentenced in U.S. Middle District Court here Friday to 15 years and three months in federal prison for setting fire to his convenience store in 2001.

John Floyd Carey Sr., 63, former owner of Carey’s Country Store in Sinnemahoning, Cameron County, was sentenced by U.S. District Senior Judge Malcolm Muir on counts of mail fraud, arson and use of fire to commit a felony.

Carey’s attorney, William Miele, asked for the low end of the recommended sentencing guidelines — 15 years. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Rocktashel asked for a sentence of more than 16 years.

Miele pointed out Carey will be roughly 75 when he gets out of prison and has no assets with which to pay a fine.

Rocktashel said the fire had endangered firefighters who responded to the store and tried to “pervert justice” by filing a lawsuit to force the insurance company to turn over the money he set the fire to obtain.

The lawsuit failed and Carey fled south when a federal indictment was filed.

He was later apprehended in Virginia, and a U.S. Middle District Court jury trial here last spring ended in a guilty verdict.

Carey’s comments in court Friday consisted of a request for a long list of transcripts and court documents. Other than that, he said he had “nothing to add.”

According to the indictment, Carey and his wife were having marital problems, deep in debt and in default of a $153,000 mortgage at the time of the fire.

The prosecution claimed Carey set the fire hoping to collect $380,000 insurance and had removed valuables from the property before the fire.

During the trial, the defense alleged the fire could have been set by his estranged wife and son.

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