For Immediate Release
Leominster Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Arson
BOSTON – The owner of West End Diner in Leominster pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with setting fire to his restaurant in order to collect the insurance proceeds.
Jeffrey Cordio, 50, of Leominster, Mass. pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to use fire to commit mail fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for June 1.
In January 2006, Cordio and his wife purchased the West End Diner at 270 West Street in Leominster. Due to significant financial distress and a desire to relocate to Florida, Cordio and an accomplice set fire to the diner and fled the scene during the afternoon of Nov. 13, 2013. The Leominster Fire Department responded to the alarm and was able to largely contain the blaze to the basement of the building. The following day, Cordio initiated an insurance claim with Norfolk & Dedham Mutual Fire Insurance Company; however, the claim was ultimately denied after investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set.
The charge of conspiracy to use fire to commit mail fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. If the Court accepts the plea agreement, Cordio will serve a sentence of four years in prison and three years of supervised release. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Cordio’s accomplice previously pleaded guilty in state court to accessory before the fact.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Leominster Police Chief Michael Goldman, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosive Investigation Section, the Leominster Fire Department and the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office also assisted with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg A. Friedholm of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.