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Press Releases / 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2007

FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA ANNOUNCES SENTENCING OF CONVICTED ARSONIST NABBED IN HIRE-FOR-FIRE SCAM

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced today that a convicted arsonist was sentenced to 35 years to life yesterday after a Brooklyn jury found him guilty of three counts of first-degree arson in connection with three separate fires at the same location in March 2004. Sherman Rivers was convicted on March 28 after a two-week trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court – following a thorough investigation by FDNY fire marshals.

“This individual put the lives of innocent people at risk for the sake of turning a profit,” Commissioner Scoppetta said. “I commend our experienced team of dedicated fire marshals for their comprehensive investigation into these incendiary fires which ultimately took this dangerous man off New York City’s streets.”

Fire marshals determined Rivers, 37, hired an individual, commonly referred to as a “torch,” to set fires at 408 Greene Ave. in Brooklyn on May 25, May 27 and May 30 in 2004. Fire marshals discovered Rivers hoped to use the fires as a way to force out several tenants so he could broker the sale of the Greene Ave. building with a fraudulent deed and power of attorney while the actual owner was serving time in prison.

Rivers is currently serving 25 years to life after he was convicted of first-degree arson in connection with another fire on November 2, 2001, at 86 Himrod St. in Brooklyn. The two sentences are to run consecutively.

The initial investigations were conducted by Fire Marshals Raymond Ott and Michael Termini, and the overall investigations were conducted by Fire Marshal Daniel Caruso, who is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit of the FDNY Bureau of Fire Investigation. The NYPD and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also assisted in the investigation.

 

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Tony Sclafani, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

http://www.nyc.gov/fdny

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