A sheriff’s deputy who spent nearly two decades with the Fresno County, Calif., sheriff’s office has been accused of torching his own vehicle as part of an insurance fraud scam.
Sher Moua, who lost his job while local police investigated him for arson and insurance fraud, is accused of torching his 2002 Toyota 4Runner in April. The SUV has a Kelley Blue Book value of about $3,400, but police say Moua took out an insurance policy – including extra coverage – on the vehicle just days before it burned.
Moua has pleaded not guilty, according to Fresno news station ABC 30. He initially claimed to have last seen the car at about 6:30 the night before it was torched. But police uncovered surveillance footage of him driving the SUV to a club around 9pm and leaving just before 2am, ABC 30 reported. Another camera picked up the SUV leaving Moua’s home 20 minutes later – just 15 minutes before the fire started.
Despite Moua’s not-guilty plea, police said he confessed to them about three weeks after the fire. According to Clovis, Calif., police, Moua came in to speak with them while wearing his deputy’s uniform and driving his patrol car.
Moua said he was having severe money problems after a divorce and the subsequent death of his ex-wife, ABC 30 reported.
“Sometimes normal, honest people crack under financial stress, and this looks like a prime example of that,” legal analyst Tony Capozzi told the station.