When a house or business burns down, police will investigate the incident to determine what went wrong. Even if it was a complete accident, police will sometimes accuse a homeowner or business owner of setting a piece of property on fire just to collect the insurance money. In criminal law, this crime is not only referred to as insurance fraud, but it's also called "arson."
Arson is the deliberate act of setting property on fire. In many cases, arson is a part of insurance fraud allegations. However, it can also be committed as a part of a hate crime, or it could involve the setting on fire of forest lands. Arson is classified as a felony due to its capacity to hurt someone.
Arson crimes become more serious depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, setting fire to an occupied building versus setting fire to an unoccupied building represents starkly different severity levels.
Since fires result in so much destruction, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause and/or origin of a fire. For this reason, forensic investigators can spend months and years getting to the bottom of a particular arson case.
Were you accused of arson relating to allegations of insurance fraud? Sometimes Wisconsin law enforcement officers can be quick to point fingers at business owners and homeowners who lost their homes due to fire.
Not only have these individuals lost their property, but now they are facing inappropriate arson charges and insurance fraud charges. You can defend yourself against the charges in court with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Source: FindLaw, "Arson," accessed April 18, 2017