In this edition of Fraud Files we take a look at how the city of Detroit has been plagued by arson fires featuring an in-depth print series on the seriousness of the issue. The series touched on many aspects of the arson problem including arson-for-profit rings. Roger Morris has more on the issue in the video below.
On Monday co-defendant Kirk Bills was sentenced to 4 to 10 years for his involvement in the case. Clark County District Court Judge David Barker said Bills acted “hand in hand” with former shop owner Gloria Lee.
“You’re the one who chose to light the match,” the judge told Bills. “You couldn’t have possibly not known those were living creatures in these cages.”
The incident sparked intense interest and protests from animal rights advocates after Lee was arrested in Las Vegas shortly after the fire. The animals became the focus of an ownership battle before they were raffled in March to raise money for local animal shelters.
The pet shop, Prince and Princess, sprinkler system was able to douse the flames and saved the lives of the 25 puppies and two adult dogs inside the store.
During ther trial, Lee revealed that she is pregnant, but the news did not put off the lengthy sentence in the case. Prosecutor Shanon Clowers said the pregnancy announcement was simply an attempt at garnering a “get out of jail free card.”
Lee pleaded guilty in October to arson, insurance fraud and attempted animal cruelty charges in a plea deal that had 28 other charges against her dismissed.