NY Man Charged for Alleged Arson and FraudInsurance Fraud — By Trace America on August 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Arson and fraud charges are next on the list of difficult life events for Chris Deverso, who recently lost two classic 1967 Chevrolet Camaros in a garage fire, which he told deputies was the second-worst thing to happen to him.
He noted that the worst was losing his daughter, Victoria Deverso, 17, from a drunken driving crash back in 2010.
While that obviously was a horrendous event to have gone through, Onondaga County sheriffs deputies believe that the fire that destroyed the cars was no accident.
According to Syracuse.com, deputies allege that Deverso destroyed the cars to obtain over $80,000 in insurance payouts. Deverso, 40, and his friend Richard C. Swartz Jr., 40, were charged with third-degree arson and fourth-degree conspiracy. Deverso was also charged with second-degree insurance fraud.
Your News Now (YNN) notes that Deverso waived his preliminary hearing and that his case is now being forwarded to a grand jury.
Swartz is currently being held on either $250,000 cash or a $100,000 bond.
“Swartz told deputies Deverso promised him $10,000 if he set the cars on fire, according to court papers. Deverso maintained he didn’t know anything about the fire until a friend alerted him.”
The July 3rd fire destroyed the 40-bay garage that housed the vehicles and also caused Swartz to suffer burns on 40% of his body.
Deverso started showing up in the news back in 2005 due to a manhunt that involved his sister, Tammy Julian. She later escaped after being held hostage by an armed man in a trailer as he tried to avoid police after kidnapping his own daughter.
Deverso later made headlines because of his beloved pet “Rocky,” a snakehead fish that was targeted for destruction by the state because he was considered an invasive species. A huge petition drive and a fight with the state Department of Environmental Conservation allowed him to keep Rocky, who later died of natural causes in December of 2010.
When state officials threatened to take the pet Deverso stated, “It’s not just about protecting the fish anymore, it’s about protecting my rights.”
And worst of all, pertaining to his daughter Victoria, she was a passenger in a SUV driven by a drunken Chelsea Kuss, 17, who struck another vehicle head-on and then flipped over. Kuss was later sentenced to time in the state prison.
After his daughter’s death, Deverso became an advocate to prevent drunk driving. He stated, “Before I used to think, well it is none of my business what parents do with their kids, how they want to parent them. Now, I’m starting to preach it a little harder.”
He also said,
“I don’t want to see anybody else go through it. I don’t want it to have to happen to someone else so they understand.”
On a side note, please remember that all arrested parties are innocent until proven guilty.
This post is authored by Trace America.