An Indiana woman allegedly offered to pay a neighbor $5,000 to help her burn down her house and make it look like a botched rape attempt, reports CNN. Insurance industry experts are now worried that more homeowners will turn to arson in the coming months, as the housing market continues to suffer.
The 31-year-old woman had allegedly hoped to claim $80,000 in insurance money. She had supposedly wanted the neighbor to bind her in duct tape, write "whore" on her shirt, and then help her escape once the blaze was set. Instead, the neighbor called the police.
It's no surprise that when real estate is down, fraud goes up. A recent report by the industry-funded Coalition Against Insurance Fraud notes that with "untold thousands of homeowners struggling with ballooning subprime mortgage payments, fraud fighters are watching closely for a spike in arsons by desperate homeowners who can no longer afford their home payments."
In California, Allstate has reported that the number of questionable residential fires increased 76 percent from 2006 to 2007. The years prior to 2006 also saw lower arson rates.
It goes without saying that arson is a hazard to the environment, in addition to the painfully obvious risks to life, property and limb. With global warming unsettling natural cycles, and problematic fire management in wilderness as well as more populated areas, out-of-control blazes have been getting more frequent and more destructive. We certainly don't want more chances to cause a conflagration.
In addition, the troubled mortgage situation underscores the importance of saving money, which can often easiest be done by saving energy around the home! Also, keep following the Daily Green to learn how green features can help you get a leg up in real estate.
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