On Friday, it was announced that a third man had pleaded guilty to his involvement in a scheme to commit insurance fraud by arson. 54-year-old James Keith Browning of Hanover pled guilty to a charge of arson to commit wire fraud. In the spring of 2013, Browning, James “Punkin” Lester and Dudley Bledsoe devised a scheme to purchase a house, put it in Browning’s name, obtain insurance on it, and burn it down to collect the proceeds. The property was located at 9068 Interstate Highway in Ikes Fork, West Virginia.
During the week of August 12-16, 2018, the trio manufactured an alibi to use when the house was burned. After the alibi was created, Bledsoe and Browning went to the house with the intention of burning it down. The house was burned on August 16, 2013, while Lester and Browning were at the West Virginia State Fair. Then, Browning filed a fraudulent claim with the insurance company. He ultimately received $100,000 from the insurance company for the false claim. The money was then divided among the three men.
Browning is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, 2018. At that time, he will face a maximum sentence of 10 years. Additional details have been made available here.