Father of France train hero indicted in California on fraud charges

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 19, 2016 2:16 AM

(Reuters) - The father of a U.S. Air Force airman who helped to thwart a train attack in France was one of three men indicted on Friday in a Sacramento federal court on fraud and arson charges, according to local media and court documents.

Brian Stone, 57, indicted on 13 counts of mail and wire fraud, is accused of helping Jamal Shehadeh with insurance claims after the second man allegedly had fires set at six commercial properties from December 2009 to September 2013 in Sacramento and Carmichael, California, court documents showed.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported that Stone is the father of U.S. Air Force airman Spencer Stone.

Spencer Stone and his two friends subdued a gunman on a high-speed train bound for Paris in August last year, winning accolades from the presidents of France and the United States.

Spencer Stone told the Sacramento Bee he did not know about the allegations against his father and declined to comment on the case.

Brian Stone's attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Shehadeh, 57, was indicted on 52 counts of mail and wire fraud, seven counts of arson and one count of money laundering. Saber Shehadeh, 73, was charged with three counts of mail fraud, according to court documents.

Saber Shehadeh is a relative of Jamal Shehadeh, the Bee reported.

After fires were set at commercial properties, the three submitted insurance claims that contained false statements about the incidents and businesses. They received more than $1.5 million in insurance money, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.

All three men were denied bail on Friday, according to court documents.

The mail and wire fraud charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The arson charges carry a five to 20-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $250,000.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Tom Hogue)