Weatherford, TX, man will be sentenced in July for scamming insurance companies
by setting a series of truck fires.
Ellery Orff pleaded guilty April 5, 2005, in federal court in Fort Worth, TX,
to one count of mail fraud, one count of use of fire to commit felony and one
count of destruction of a vehicle in interstate commerce.
to a statement from U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper, Orff, 41, faces a maximum
sentence of 15 to 35 years imprisonment, a $750,000 fine and could be required
to pay restitution. Sentencing is set for July 12, 2005, before U.S. District
Judge Terry R. Means.
employed as a long-distance independent truck driver for various interstate
trucking companies, the Department of Justice stated. He owned and operated
tractor-trailers, and would either insure his tractors with various insurance
companies or would obtain coverage under the policies of the companies hiring
to documents filed in court, Orff admitted that from 1992 through mid-July
2003, he set at least 13 tractor fires, and at least one house trailer fire.
The total amount of losses caused by these fires was more than $300,000.
Usually Orff started a fire in the tractor making it appear that the fire was
caused by an electrical problem. Orff then claimed to investigators and
insurance companies that the fires were the result of electrical or mechanical
problems or some other accidental cause.
say Orff burned trucks while employed with, among others, Mason Dixon Lines,
Universal Am-Cam and Southwest Carriers, and filed claims to collect damages
resulting from the fires.
this type of criminal activity that has such a negative impact on everybody's
insurance rates,” said Ronnie Carter, a special agent with the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “This long-term, cooperative
investigation was certainly worth the effort.”
praised the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives as well as the Weatherford, TX, Fire Marshal, the Weatherford
Fire Department and the Weatherford Police Department. The case was prosecuted
by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark L. Nichols.