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Burn Baby Burn

by James Denison / May 15, 2008 11:51 PM PDT

Seems foreclosures have brought a particular crime back into prominence. Arson. People are burning their insured homes which values have dropped below the insured amount as a means of exiting their obligations on a home that is worth less than the original loan now. Most if not all loans require fire insurance on homes that equal at least the loan value of the mortgage. Insurance companies haven't been adjusting these downward quick enough in areas where home prices have fallen. Now those insurance companies are getting burned, literally. Also those caught are facing worse than economic ruin, with a new criminal record tagged to them at the worst possible time in their lives.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/may/16/subprimecrisis.useconomy


It may be an extreme way to kiss goodbye to a dream home ? but a growing number of Americans are torching their properties when they find themselves overwhelmed by sub-prime mortgages.

Insurance investigators around the country have flagged scores of cases of houses going up in flames just days before bailiffs are due to cross the threshold.

Take, for example, the case of Sheryl Christman ? a 38-year-old truck driver's wife from Gaines Township, Michigan. She was sentenced to five year's probation and 1,000 hours of community service for setting her $150,000 house ablaze just three days before it was due to be repossessed.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group speaking for insurers, regulators and consumers, says there are worrying signs of a trend.

"There are warning signals of a potential spike in arson by desperate homeowners who are looking for an insurance payout to bail them out of foreclosure," says spokesman James Quiggle. "A small but growing number of arrests........(more)

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