A Minnesota man who falsely claimed that someone set fire to his camper because it had a "Trump 2020" flag display pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of wire fraud after he filed fraudulent insurance claims related to the incident.
In September 2020, Denis Vladmirovich Molla told authorities that someone had lit his camper on fire and that his garage door was vandalized with graffiti saying “Biden 2020,” “BLM,” and an antifa symbol, according to court documents. Molla claimed at the time that vandals had targeted his camper because it had a Trump 2020 flag on it.
Molla, 30, had also told law enforcement at the time that he had seen three unknown men near his home when he heard the explosion, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. After the alleged incident, Molla submitted multiple insurance claims seeking coverage for the damage to his garage, camper, vehicles, and residence.
After investigating the claims, prosecutors discovered that it was, in fact, Molla who started the fire himself and spray-painted the graffiti on his own garage.
As a result, in July, Molla was charged with two counts of wire fraud for defrauding and attempting to defraud a victim insurance company and GoFundMe donors.
Authorities say that from September 2020 through July 2021, Molla defrauded and attempted to defraud the victim insurance company and GoFundMe donors "out of more than $300,000 based on his false claim that his garage and vehicles were burned by unknown individuals who targeted him based on his political beliefs," the indictment states.
After some of his claims were denied by his insurance company, prosecutors say Molla submitted a written complaint claiming that the insurance company was defrauding him. Molla also allegedly threatened to report the company to the Department of Commerce and the attorney general.
In total, Molla submitted more than $300,000 in fraudulent claims but received just $61,000 from his insurance company. Additionally, Molla got more than $17,000 from donors via GoFundMe accounts he had set up.
On Tuesday, Molla pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.