For Immediate Release
Gladstone Woman Pleads Guilty to Arson-for-Hire Attempt of KC Business
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Gladstone, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to hire an arsonist to destroy her commercial building in Kansas City, Mo., which contained several businesses.
Mia Lee Jamison, 70, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lajuana M. Counts to one count of soliciting a crime of violence – specifically, to maliciously destroy a building by arson – and one count of making a false statement to investigators of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive.
By pleading guilty today, Jamison admitted that she met with an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives at her home on several occasions in April 2019 to discuss hiring him to commit arson. She offered to pay the undercover agent $150,000 to burn her commercial building, Mia Plaza, which is located near the corner of 39th Street and Bell Avenue in Kansas City. Three businesses operated at that location at that time – 39th World of Spirits (a liquor and grocery store), Bob Wasabi Kitchen (a sushi bar), and Sahara Sheesha Lounge (a hookah lounge).
Jamison told the undercover agent that she was going to be losing ownership of the building due to a civil lawsuit, and wanted the building burned before April 29, 2019. She told the agent she had a $1.5 million insurance policy on the building (it was actually $2 million). She agreed to pay him $150,000 and gave him a deposit of $3,500. Jamison wanted the fire to look like an accident, and the undercover agent agreed to set the fire between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. to limit the risk to the tenants.
On April 28, 2019, Jamison met with the undercover agent for the last time. She told the undercover agent she had removed the video surveillance cameras at the building in preparation for the fire and wanted the building to be burned that night. Investigators recorded all the meetings between Jamison and the undercover agent by either audio or video recording equipment, or both.
At approximately 4 a.m. the next morning, federal investigators contacted Jamison at her residence. Investigators asked whether she burned down the building in question or whether she asked someone to burn the building down. On multiple occasions she denied requesting or hiring someone to destroy the building by fire.
Following the interview, they told Jamison her building had not actually been damaged by a fire but was still standing and placed her under arrest.
Under federal statutes, Jamison is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trey Alford and Patrick D. Daly. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.