For Immediate Release
Owner Of St. Cloud Press Bar Pleads Guilty to Arson
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Andrew Charles Welsh has pleaded guilty to intentionally setting fire to the Press Bar and Parlor as part of a scheme to obtain insurance money, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, Welsh, 42, owner and operator of the Press Bar and Parlor located in St. Cloud, maintained a business owner’s insurance policy on the business. On February 17, 2020, as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain insurance money, Welsh used gasoline to set a fire in his office located in the basement of the Press Bar. The fire eventually spread and resulted in the total destruction of the building as well as other losses.
On February 24, 2020, Welsh retained a Public Insurance Adjuster to assist in the preparation, presentation, and adjustment of insurance claims related to the fire at Press Bar. On February 26, 2020, Welsh, through the Public Insurance Adjuster, claimed that he was entitled to payment from the insurance company in the amount $1,430,123.28 for property damage and other losses related to the February 17, 2020, fire. Welsh admitted that in submitting the insurance claim, he falsely stated that “said loss did not originate by any act, design, or procurement on the part of your insured,” when, as Welsh knew, his arson of the Press Bar caused the loss for which he sought compensation.
Welsh pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of arson. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the St. Cloud Police Department, the St. Cloud Fire Department, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshals, Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Stearns County Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathan H. Nelson and Evan B. Gilead are prosecuting the case.