A former Sidney man will surrender Tuesday to begin serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for leading an arson ring that collected more than $400,000 in fraudulent claims from the 1990s until 2002.
James Insinga, 61, of Binghamton, a former Realtor in Sidney, was sentenced Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court in Binghamton after earlier pleading guilty to arson and conspiracy. He has also been ordered to pay $430,000 in restitution. The U.S. Department of Justice charged him in the case in December 2003.
A person who answered Insinga's home phone Friday told a reporter Insinga said he had no comment.
He remains under supervision of a federal probation officer until he begins his sentence, according to a media release.
Six others have already been charged after a six-year investigation into arsons in Delaware, Otsego and Chenango counties. They have all been sentenced and are on probation. This includes Insinga's business partner, Anthony Roefs, 68, of Port Charles, Fla., Gabriel Bonacci, 36, and Joseph Bonacci, 30, both of Sidney, Pietro Basile, 60, of Elmira, and Nadine Sieburt, 47, of Brick, N.J.
The investigation began in 2001 when the New York State Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau was contacted by Karl Vagts, senior investigator with the Delaware County sheriff's office, according to Sean Ralph of the state office. Ralph said Vagts had "source information" that Insinga had solicited an individual to participate in a detailed scheme, including home fires that would not be suspected, Ralph said.
Investigators linked Insinga and the others to the fires after they discovered his name and that of business partner Roefs on mortgages for the properties.
``The fires were set in such a way that fire investigators initially had been unable to identify the fact that they were intentionally set,'' Ralph said in the release.
The fires originally had been ruled accidental, insurance claims had been settled and paid, he said, and cases closed.
Several federal, state, and local agencies participated in the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin P. Dooley prosecuted the case. He did not return a call Friday for details about the case, including which properties were destroyed.