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Area landlord convicted of federal arson charges

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM

A federal jury has convicted Muskegon-area landlord Gerald E. Singer for an "arson for profit scheme" that authorities said lasted nearly 20 years.

One of the properties Singer owned that was destroyed by fire in the arson scheme, officials said, was at 530 Elliott St. in Grand Haven. It burned in July 1995.

Singer, 73, was convicted last week in federal district court in Grand Rapids of two counts of arson, three counts of use of fire to commit mail (insurance) fraud, one count of mail fraud, four counts of filing a false tax-related document, and one count of obstructing the federal tax administration after a four-week trial. Singer was acquitted of three other counts of use of fire to commit mail fraud.

Singer faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 21. He remains in federal custody.

"Gerald Singer caused much damage and now justice caught up with him," U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles said.

Among the other charges, Singer was convicted of filing false tax documents from 2005-2008 and failing to disclose to the IRS approximately $500,000 in insurance proceeds from the fire in Norton Shores.

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