Grand Jury Indicts Two For Hamilton Arson

Springfield, IL – Maheshbhai Patel, 34, of Keokuk, Iowa and Douglas Brooks, 57, of Benton Harbor, Michigan have been charged with arson and conspiracy to commit arson in connection with a fire at Duck's Red Fox Grocery Store in Hamilton, Illinois.

Patel has also been charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of using fire in the commission of a felony offense.

The indictment alleges that Patel agreed to pay Brooks to set fire to the grocery store, which Patel owns. Patel planned to use the proceeds from the subsequent insurance claim to pay Brooks.

Brooks allegedly spray-painted graffiti in the store prior to setting the fire on October 5, 2009. The indictment says the reason was to make it look as if Patel was not involved in the incident.

Patel allegedly submitted false information to the insurance company in his attempt to claim damages from the fire.

Patel was arrested on December 16, 2009. An arraignment hearing in federal court will be scheduled for Patel and Brooks.

Possible penalties
Arson - 5 to 20 years and fine of up to $250,000
Conspiracy to commit Arson - up to 5 years and fine of up to $250,000
Wire Fraud - up to 20 years in prison
Mail Fraud - up to 20 years in prison
Using Fire in the Commission of a felony - mandatory 10 years, served consecutively, if convicted of fraud.