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ST. LOUIS - Five St. Louis-area men have been indicted for allegedly setting fires to the four grocery stores two of them owned, in order to collect insurance money, according to published reports.
U.S. Attorney James Martin handed down the 14-count federal indictment on Friday, which named Zeyad Abdeljabbar, 39, of Town & Country; Walid Ihmoud, 53, of St. Louis; Charles D'ary, 55, of Venice, Ill.; Mohammad Almassri, 39, of St. Louis; and Said Jarabaa, of St. Louis.
According to the indictment, between August 2002 and the present, the five men participated in a conspiracy to destroy three businesses owned by Abdeljabbar and one business owned by Ihmoud to collect the insurance money. The fires occurred at St. Louis Supermarkets located at 2700 South Grand and 4331 Natural Bridge in St. Louis, and 8352 Frost in St. Louis County; and Quality Bargains, Inc. at 8350 North Broadway in St. Louis, and owned by Ihmoud.
The defendants allegedly filed insurance claims on the damaged or destroyed businesses, and then collected more than $400,000 from various insurance carriers.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000, on Count I, Conspiracy to commit arson; and 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000 per count on the arson, attempted arson, and mail fraud charges.