Business owner pleads guilty to setting fire for insurance

September 28, 2021 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — An Edmonds, Washington woman has pleaded guilty to wire fraud related to the 2018 fire at her business that prosecutors said she set in order to collect insurance money.

Connie Bigelow, 53, admitted in the plea agreement that she set fire to her business, CJN Miniatures & More — a dollhouse, collectibles and antiques shop, said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman.

Bigelow had an insurance policy that covered up to $100,000 in loss of property and income, Gorman said. Her business was struggling and fell behind in rent and bills in 2018. She set fire under three valuable paintings and filed a claim for the losses, Gorman said.

Bigelow communicated with the insurance agent through email as part of the wire fraud scheme, Gorman said. She also made false statements to law enforcement.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 17. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.