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Arson Case Briefs

provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
for more information on this Brief, contact:
ATF, Arson and Explosive Programs Division - (202) 927-7930


Club Shenanigans and Macri's Pizza in The Georgetown Mall
South Bend, IN
December 28, 1992


A. IN: 33725-93-5016 P

B. CASE AGENT: Robert F. Hausken/David M. Allbritten

C. FIELD DIVISION/OFFICE: Louisville/Fort Wayne

D. PHONE: 219-424-4440

E. PROSECUTOR:

William T. Grimmer
Assistant United States Attorney
Northern District of Indiana

F. SYNOPSIS:

On December 28, 1992, an arson occurred at the Georgetown Mall, 52303 Emmons Road, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Northern District of Indiana. Damages were estimated at approximately $800,000.

G. CHARGES:

United States Code

Title 18, Section 844(i) - Arson
Title 18, Section 1341 - Mail Fraud

H. EVIDENCE:

1. On December 30, 1991, Antonio "Tony" Macri entered into an agreement with Club Shenanigans, Inc. In this agreement, Macri agreed to operate a restaurant on the premises of Club Shenanigans. He also agreed to remodel the involved kitchen area and to keep current in his accounts payable.

2. In 1992, Macri's Pizza's inside sales declined steadily, from a high of $7,797.46 in April to a low of $1,215.72 in December.

3. Investigation revealed that Macri had made the following statements at various times:

"Yeah, if this business goes down, so will Shenanigans."

"If I go down, you (Shenanigans) go down with me."

"Well before I'll leave it here, I'll burn it down."

"I wouldn't give a ---- if the whole ---- place burns down. I don't care, I'm out of here soon. It would be nice if the place burned. In fact, I may burn it myself."

4. On November 18, 1992, Club Shenanigans, Inc., mailed a notice to Macri advising him that Macri's Pizza owed Club Shenanigans $4,716.24. The notice also advised Macri that if this was not paid or other arrangements made, Macri's Pizza could be evicted after 30 days.

5. On December 5, 1992, Macri was discussing his financial problems and attempted to persuade Club Shenanigan's co-owner, David Letcher, to become involved with burning Macri's Pizza and Club Shenanigans for the insurance money.

6. On approximately December 14, 1992, Macri's wife, Roxanna Macri, stated that Macri's Pizza was failing financially and that they would be moving out.

7. Macri's Pizza purchases from its main supplier during the fourth quarter of 1992 showed a decrease of $1,399 from the first quarter of 1992.

8. On December 27, 1992, at 8:00 a.m., the cleaning crew entered Club Shenanigans and Macri's Pizza. They did not recall seeing the mementoes and memorabilia normally displayed inside Macri's Pizza.

9. December 27, 1992, was the first Sunday that Club Shenanigans had not opened for business since Tony Macri opened Macri's Pizza. Macri had been advised that Club Shenanigans would not be opened on the 27th approximately 2 weeks prior.

10. On December 28, 1992, at 12:30 a.m., passersby observed vehicles parked outside, and the lights on inside, of Macri's Pizza. A male was also observed.

11. On December 28, 1992, at 1:38 a.m., the Clay Township Fire Department received notification of a fire at the Georgetown Shopping Center. Initially responding units discovered a fire primarily involving Club Shenanigans and Macri's Pizza. Fire fighters discovered that all doors were locked and the glass in the windows was intact. Loss was in excess of $1 million. An ATF CFI and State fire examiners who examined the scene found multiple points of origin. Subsequent laboratory tests of samples taken at the scene confirmed the presence of gasoline.

12. On December 28, 1992, Macri's insurance company mailed him letters, via the U.S. Postal Service, advising him of the actions the company was taking and providing him a point of contact.

13. Roxanna and Tony Macri were separately interviewed. Investigation revealed that they made numerous false statements to investigators. Both stated that they were financially secure and that the business was doing fine. Investigation determined that this was not the case.

14. On March 18 and April 2, 1993, Tony Macri signed sworn statements in proof of loss regarding his insurance claim. He then caused these documents to be delivered to an insurance company representative who then mailed the documents by means of the U.S. Postal Service.

I. LEGAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS:

The evidence against Tony Macri was circumstantial.

The case was presented to two grand juries. The first expired before all the witnesses could testify, and the case then had to be presented to the second grand jury, which eventually returned a true bill.

Tony Macri's trial was approximately 3 years and 7 months from the date of the fire. Prosecution witnesses were difficult to locate. Furthermore, some of their memories of circumstances and events related to the fire were less than precise.

Tony Macri, his brother, and his attorney allegedly approached two prosecution witnesses away from the courtroom during a recess in the trial. The three attempted to persuade the Government witnesses to change their respective testimonies to the grand jury. The witnesses refused and notified the U.S. attorney's office. A hearing was held to discuss the alleged witness tampering, however, the Government chose not to pursue the matter.

J. VERDICT AND SENTENCING:

On July 18, 1996, following a 9-day Federal trial, Tony Macri was found guilty of two of the three counts charged. He was acquitted by a jury of Count I - Arson, and found guilty of Counts II and III - Mail Fraud.

On November 7, 1996, Macri was sentenced to 42 months' incarceration, 2 years' supervised release, and fined $5,000 for each of the two counts for which he was found guilty. The sentences are being served concurrently. The fines are cumulative in nature.

As noted, the jury found Macri not guilty of the arson count; however, the presiding judge ruled that Macri was involved in the fire. Therefore, Macri was responsible for the full loss incurred by the fire's victims. Because of the judge's ruling, Macri was moved up 11 levels in the sentencing guidelines.

Macri's conviction has voided a $3,559,000 civil lawsuit he filed in Federal court against his insurance company.

 
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