ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Texas

www.justice.gov/usao/txn

For Immediate Release

April 5, 2012

Sarah R. Saldaña, United States Attorney

Contact: Kathy Colvin, Public Information Officer
(214) 659-8600
kathy.colvin@usdoj.gov

Leader of Group of Dallas Residents Convicted of Intentionally Setting Fires to Collect American Red Cross Assistance Funds Is Sentenced to 240 Months in Federal Prison

DALLAS — Following her guilty plea in May 2011 to one count of wire fraud and one count of arson, Marthella Broadus, 37, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to 240 months in federal prison. In addition, Judge Boyle ordered Broadus to pay $1,729,115.95 in restitution. Marthella Broadus is the last of seven Dallas residents to be sentenced for her role in three arson fires committed in Dallas from December 2008 through May 2009. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Early last year, Lashay Kelly, 25, Kenneth Hunter, 24, Kevin Hunter, 26, and Georgialyn Guice, 27, each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of arson. Kelly was sentenced in November 2011 to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $723,000 in restitution. Kenneth Hunter and Kevin Hunter were each sentenced in August 2011 to 27 months and 45 months in federal prison, respectively, and ordered to pay $968,000 in restitution. Guice was sentenced in November 2011 to 40 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $968,000.

Kenneth E. Smith, 27, who pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, was sentenced in September 2011 to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $37,000.

Marthella Broadus’ mother, Juanita Broadus, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced in October 2011 to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution.

The 2900 Dilido Avenue Fire

According to the indictment, in late May 2009, Marthella Broadus and Lashay Kelly agreed to set fire to Kelly’s apartment located at 2900 Dilido Avenue in Dallas, in order to receive financial assistance from the American Red Cross. As part of their scheme, they removed household items and other valuables from the apartment. On May 31, 2009, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside Kelly’s apartment that caused approximately $700,000 in property damage.

Immediately after the fire, Kelly met with an American Red Cross case worker and falsely advised that seven household occupants were displaced from her apartment and that she lost all of her personal belongings in the fire. The Red Cross then issued a Client Assistance Card to Kelly, in the amount of $1885, to cover items lost such as food and clothes. Marthella Broadus and Kelly used this card to purchase approximately $300 in merchandise from a retailer in Dallas and to withdraw approximately $1520 in cash from an ATM.

The 4950 Wadsworth Drive Fire

According to the indictment, from late April though May 5, 2009, Marthella Broadus, Kenneth Hunter, Kevin Hunter and Georgialyn Guice agreed to set fire to Kenneth Hunter’s apartment located at 4950 Wadsworth Drive in Dallas, in order to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross. On May 3, 2009, Kevin Hunter removed household items and other valuables from Kenneth Hunter’s apartment. On May 3, 2009, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside Kenneth Hunter’s apartment, causing approximately $250,000 in property damage.

Immediately after the fire, Kenneth Hunter met with a Red Cross case worker and falsely stated that eight household occupants were displaced from his apartment and that he lost of all of his personal belongings in the fire. The Red Cross issued a Client Assistance Card, in the amount of $2015 to Kenneth Hunter. That same day, Marthella Broadus, Kenneth Hunter, Kevin Hunter and Georgialyn Guice used the card to withdraw approximately $2000 from an ATM in Dallas.

The 7925 Racine Drive Fire

According to the indictment, in December 2008, Marthella Broadus, Juanita L. Broadus and Kenneth E. Smith, agreed to set fire to Marthella Broadus’s rental house at 7925 Racine Drive in Dallas, to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross. On December 8, 2008, Marthella and Juanita Broadus, along with Kenneth E. Smith, removed household items and other valuable items from Marthella Broadus’s house. On December 9, 2008, Marthella Broadus intentionally started a fire inside her house, causing more than $16,000 in property damage. Marthella Broadus then met with a Red Cross caseworker and falsely stated that 17 household occupants were displaced from her house and that she lost all of her belongings in the fire. The Red Cross issued a Client Assistance Card worth $1745 to Marthella Broadus to cover items lost in the fire. Between December 10 and December 13, 2008, Marthella Broadus, Juanita L. Broadus and Kenneth E. Smith made approximately $1740 worth of purchases and withdrawals using this card.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dallas Fire–Rescue Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Brown prosecuted.

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