Intent of burning his entire family to death for an insurance payout, Armin Wand III tried to shove his daughter back into his burning house after her pregnant mother had rescued her from the fire.
The Madison, Wis. man enlisted his brother to help for $300 of the expected insurance score. They shoved crumpled pieces of paper under Armin’s sleeping wife Sharon. Lighter fluid burned three-year old Joseph to death while he slept on a couch. Two older boys were locked in their rooms before the blaze began. Their bodies later were found charred together on the bedroom floor.
Wand was convicted of three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and felony murder and arson, which carries a mandatory life sentence. He also testified against his brother. He was given three life sentences.
When arson fires spread out of control, entire communities can be devastated. The consequences, far-reaching.
When arsons are committed for financial gain, the human losses can be staggering. The fires endanger innocent neighbors, family members and brave firefighters.
Part of the reason arson scams are even attempted may be that fraudsters think they can get away with their crimes and make money from bogus claims.
This week is National Arson Awareness week, spreading awareness about the dangers of home arson, and providing communities with tools to help thwart this crime. The Coalition is an official partner of this outreach effort, part of a small and select group of fraud-fighters.
Arson cases often end brutally. Family members have died inside their homes. Fraudsters get caught, find themselves without a home — or just ashes of it — and with long jail sentences, risking innocent lives and putting their own lives in danger… a bad bargain.
Talk to your friends and neighbors about arson, how to protect their homes, and why fraud is not worth it.
About the author: Jennifer Tchinnosian is communications specialist for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.