by ELIZABETH CHUCK and LAUREN PRINCE
Three people, including the father of France train hero Spencer Stone, are accused of lighting multiple buildings on fire in a scheme that got them more than $1.5 million in insurance money, prosecutors said.
Businessman Jamal Shehadeh, 57, was charged as the ringleader of the Sacramento, California-area ploy, which allegedly entailed setting six commercial buildings on fire from 2009 to 2013, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.
Father of train hero Spencer Stone, 2 others charged in arson fraud scheme https://t.co/jwhnrcJLWX pic.twitter.com/gJY5jHgkWL— kcranews (@kcranews) March 19, 2016
Stone's father, Brian J. Stone, 57, a business consultant for Shehadeh, helped with the fraudulent insurance claims, prosecutors said. Stone was charged with 13 counts of mail or wire fraud, while Shehadeh faces seven counts of arson and 52 counts of mail and wire fraud.
A third defendant, Saber A. Shehadeh, 73, was charged with three counts of mail fraud.
The defendants cashed in after Jamal Shehadeh set seven fires at six buildings in Sacramento and nearby Carmichael, where he operated businesses, the indictment said.
"Once Jamal Shehadeh knew that insurance policies existed, he deliberately set fires or caused fires to be set that damaged the businesses and at least one vehicle," it said.
He then allegedly lied about the value of the property damaged in the fire and the amount of lost business income.
Defense attorney Benjamin Galloway said in court Friday that Shehadeh denies the allegations, The Associated Press reported.
Brian Stone's attorney, John Manning, argued that his client should be granted bail because he's "not any flight risk whatsoever," according to the Sacramento Bee. But bail was denied.
When contacted by NBC News, Manning said he had no additional comment.
Spencer Stone, a 23-year-old U.S. Airman, was hailed internationally as a hero after he and his friends thwarted a terror attack by tackling a man who was toting an AK-47, a pistol and a box cutter on a Paris-bound train in August while they were on vacation in Europe.
The three, all from the Sacramento area, were celebrated with a parade when they returned home. Spencer Stone was also invited by Michelle Obama to attend the State of the Union earlier this year.
He made headlines again in October when he was seriously injured after getting stabbed during a fight outside a Sacramento bar. He spent a week in the hospital recovering.
The younger Stone told the Sacramento Bee he didn't know about his father's charges, adding that he hasn't known what his dad does "for a long time."
Original article: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/paris-train-hero-s-father-among-three-charged-arson-scheme-n541881