The Burning of an Insured Property under Massachusetts criminal law makes it unlawful to willfully set fire to, burn, or cause to be burned, or aid, counsel or procure the burning of any building, goods, wares, merchandise or chattel with the intent to defraud or injure the insurer of the property. This offense is often charged in connection with insurance fraud where the owner of a property caused the damage or destruction of the premises by fire for the purpose of collecting insurance proceeds. Under Massachusetts criminal law, the crime of Burning an Insured Property may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 10.
Legal Elements of Burning of an Insured Property
In order to be found guilty of Burning an Insured Property under Massachusetts criminal law, there must be strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant set fire to, attempted to set fire to, or caused to be burned, or aided, counseled or procured the burning of a building or property, whether belonging to the defendant or someone else
- that at the time of the alleged incident the property was insured against loss or damage by fire
- the defendant acted with the specific intent to injure or defraud the insurer
Specific intent refers to a conscious act with the determination of the mind to do an act. It is the contemplation rather than reflection and it must precede the act. That is, it is a person’s purpose or objective. Put another way, the defendant consciously intended to take certain actions and consciously intended certain consequences.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of Burning of an Insured Property in Massachusetts
The potential consequences for Burning an Insured Property, if convicted, in the Commonwealth may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 10. A defendant convicted for this offense under either theory shall be imprisoned in the state prison for not more than 5 years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years.
If you have been charged with Burning an Insured Property and need expert legal representation, contact the Massachusetts Arson Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III call today at (508) 213-9113 to schedule a free consultation.