A man is accused of committing insurance fraud by blowing up his own home in attempt to collect $300,000 in insurance money. The story begins when Mark Duckworth testified against his former friend, Mark Leonard, that Leonard said he was going to buy a Ferrari from insurance money after his house blew up. Leonard had help from his girlfriend, Monseratte Shirley, and his half brother, Bob Leonard, who also both face charges. They used gasoline as an accelerant to blow the house up, while claiming Tsunami winds blew his fireplace out and that caused the explosion. Leonard told his friend Duckworth this and he wondered why he had his fireplace on when it was so balmy that night. Two days later, Duckworth called to check on his friend, and Leonard said he was “kidding.” Then, Duckworth saw on the news that Leonard’s house did indeed blow up, and when Duckworth confronted him about it, Leonard never replied.
There were other strange coincidences involved in the case. The nephew of Bob Leonard, Justin Leonard, also testified that they had asked Justin to store a few of their possessions just days before the explosion. Duckworth feared he “knew too much” and thought his life might be in danger, so he told his father, a retired Indianapolis police officer, about the situation, and he found out that Leonard did plan to have him killed. The explosion turned fatal when the two next door neighbors were killed and several other houses in the neighborhood were ruined. Leonard is charged with murder, arson, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Armstrong Forensic Laboratory is dedicated to stopping insurance fraud. When arson is suspected, debris samples are collected an analyzed for through an accredited lab. The lab will test the debris for identification of ignitable liquids, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to name a few. In this particular case, gasoline was found at the scene, and in conjunction with the testimony of witnesses involved, justice will most likely be served to this man, and another insurance fraud scheme has been averted. At Armstrong, we assist in arson investigations with our expert analysis and quality, court-ready data. We are accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, so our data can be used in both criminal and civil litigation. Call us at 800-644-4175 or 817-275-2691 if you’re in the DFW area for a fire debris sample collection kit or to speak with one of our consultants on how we can assist you with your next case!