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Groves man sentenced to nearly 80 years in jail for arson, fraud

BEAUMONT — A 52-year-old Groves man was sentenced to 78 years in federal prison for violations related to an arson and insurance fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox announced the sentencing Monday evening via the Eastern District of Texas.

Patrick Wayne Bronnon was found guilty Oct. 21, 2019, of 40 charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud and use of a fire in commission of a felony.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone sentenced Bronnon Monday to 940 months in federal prison.

Breakdown:

16 counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud—100 months on each count to run concurrently.

First count of Use of a Fire in commission of mail fraud (Arson)—120 months consecutive to the 100 months above.

Second count of Use of a Fire in commission of mail fraud—240 months consecutive to the 220 months above

Third count of Use of a Fire in commission of mail fraud—240 more months consecutive to the 460 months above

For a total of 940 months.

“This sentence is deserved not only because of the tremendous loss to insurance companies, but also in light of the danger Bronnon imposed on our first responders every time he set a fire,” Cox said.

“That he put his own greed ahead of the lives of others has cost him his freedom for a long time.”

According to information presented in court, beginning in 2011, Bronnon, and others, began executing a scheme to defraud various insurance companies through fraudulent claims on homes and vehicles.

The scheme involved identifying a low value property and purchasing it through a co-defendant straw purchaser. Within a few weeks of a down payment being made, Bronnon or an associate would intentionally damage the home, typically by fire or water, in order to collect insurance proceeds.

In total, nine fraudulent fire claims, three fraudulent water damage claims and two fraudulent theft claims were filed with various insurance companies on nine different addresses, totaling approximately $1.7 million in fraudulent payments.

The properties were located in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Beaumont and Sugarland.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, National Insurance Crime Bureau and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.