U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York
(212) 637-2600
November 10, 2015

Three Long Island Men Plead Guilty in White Plains Federal Court in Connection with Sullivan County Arson

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that NICHOLAS MOTTA and DOMINIC MOTTA pled guilty today in White Plains federal court to attempted mail fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain insurance proceeds by committing arson. Previously, on October 23, 2015, a third defendant, ANTHONY PERSO, pled guilty to attempted mail fraud in connection with the same arson and insurance fraud scheme. All defendants pled guilty before the U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román. The MOTTAS are scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2016; PERSO is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2016.

According to the allegations contained in the indictment and information adduced during the Court proceedings:

In the early morning hours of February 10, 2010, during an extraordinary blizzard, a shuttered bar in Swan Lake, New York, formerly known as Kilcoin’s, was set ablaze and destroyed. PERSO was among the individuals who set the fire. NICHOLAS and DOMINIC MOTTA owned the bar, and arranged the arson by having others, including PERSO, travel to Sullivan County to set the bar afire, in order to make a claim to recover proceeds from the insurance company. In pursuing the insurance claim, DOMINIC MOTTA deceived the insurance company about the fire in order to attempt to obtain more than $100,000 in insurance proceeds. The insurance company, however, detected the arson, and ultimately denied DOMINIC MOTTA’s claim when MOTTA repeatedly failed to respond to requests by the insurance company that he answer questions about the fire under oath.

DOMINIC MOTTA, 59, and NICHOLAS MOTTA, 43, both of Islandia, New York, and PERSO, 32, of Medford, New York, each pled guilty to one count of attempted mail fraud. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department, and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Allee and George Turner are in charge of the prosecution.

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