Arson Ring Rolled Up, Sent to Prison

     DALLAS (CN) – The ringleader of a Dallas group that set fire to their apartments to collect assistance money from the American Red Cross was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.



     Marthella Broadus, 37, also was ordered to pay $1,729,115.95 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud and one count of arson.
     According to the indictment, Broadus and several others removed personal belongins and valuables before setting the fires. After each fire, group members told the Red Cross that they had lost their personal belongings, and the Red Cross issued a total of $5,645 in client assistance cards to the group to cover items such as food and clothes. Prosecutors say the group shopped and withdrew cash with the cards.
     The three fires caused more than $966,000 in property damage, prosecutors said.
     Broadus was the last of seven defendants to be sentenced for the three arson fires set from December 2008 through May 2009.
     Lashay Kelly, 25, Kenneth Hunter, 24, Kevin Hunter, 26, and Georgialyn Guice, 27, pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud arson.
     Kelly was sentenced in November to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $723,000 in restitution.
     Kenneth Hunter and Kevin Hunter were sentenced in August to 27 months and 45 months in federal prison, respectively, and ordered to pay $968,000 in restitution. Guice was sentenced in November to 40 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $968,000.
     Kenneth E. Smith, 27, who pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, was sentenced in September to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $37,000.
     Broadus’ mother, Juanita Broadus, 62, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced in October to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution.

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