Paris train attack hero's father indicted in arson insurance fraud scheme

The father of U.S. Airman Spencer Stone – one of three men who stopped an attack aboard a Paris-bound train last year – has been indicted in an arson fraud scheme in Sacramento, according to federal court documents.

Brian J. Stone and two other men were named in a 60-count indictment accusing them of starting multiple fires as part of a scheme to earn a profit, according to U.S. District Court documents.

Stone, 57, of Elk Grove pleaded not guilty Friday to 13 counts of mail or wire fraud. His attorney argued for his release, but the court ordered Stone be remanded into custody due to flight risk concerns, according to court records, which also stated that Stone provided business consultant services in Sacramento to people who needed to file insurance claims.

Stone's son, Spencer, and his childhood friends Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler tackled a gunman aboard a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris in August. The three men and a British businessman hogtied the gunman.

The three friends were lauded as heroes and hailed by President Obama and French President Francois Hollande.

Brian J. Stone, who was disbarred in 2001 from working as an attorney in California for misconduct, worked with his co-defendant Jamal Shehadeh to do construction work and clean up after structure fires.

Starting in December 2009 through September 2013, Stone, Jamal Shehadeh and his relative Saber Shehadeh filed bogus insurance paperwork for six properties in seven fires in Sacramento and Carmichael, Calif., according to federal authorities. Jamal Shehadeh owned most of the businesses and his relative owned two of the properties.

Prosecutors alleged the three men “knowingly made and had others make materially false and misleading statements regarding the cause and the origin of the fire.”  In filing the false paperwork, prosecutors said, the three men alleged multiple losses, including vehicles, properties, tenant improvement costs, business income and post-fire clean-up efforts.

“Shehadeh knew that insurance policies existed, he deliberately set fires or caused fires to be set that damaged the businesses and at least one vehicle,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The group collected more than $1.5 million in insurance proceeds, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

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