CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A McDowell County man pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge relating to an arson and insurance fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Douglas Vineyard, 52, of Welch, admitted that on July 1, 2019, he bought a house on Princeton Street in Bluefield, West Virginia for $5,000. On July 31, 2019, Vineyard bought an insurance policy on the house. The coverage included for $285,500 for the dwelling, $142,750 for the contents and $14,275 for other structures. On the insurance application, Vineyard stated that the purchase price for the house was $50,000. In early August, Vineyard made an agreement with other individuals to burn the house down and collect the insurance proceeds. On August 6, 2019, the individuals set the house on fire. The house was a total loss. On August 16, 2019, Vineyard faxed a Sworn Statement of Proof of Loss seeking $285,500 in insurance proceeds for the house. The insurance company spent over $13,000 investigating Vineyard’s false claim, ultimately denying it.
Vineyard pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 18, 2022.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Gregory McVey is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-00131.