Building owner indicted on insurance fraud charges

Jeffrey Truman Sr.

The man whose son burned down the former National Casket Company factory building in Oneida is now accused of an elaborate scheme to defraud the insurance company which covered the property for more than $4 million. A new Federal indictment accuses Jeffrey Truman Sr. of ordering his son to start the fire that burned for hours on November 12, 2006.

Truman Sr. was initially charged with arson in May of 2008. A Madison County judge dismissed charges against him during the trial citing a lack of corroborating evidence. Jeffrey Truman Jr. had already pled guilty to a third degree arson charge in exchange for testimony against his father. Truman Jr. served time in state prison while his father remained a free man.

On May 6th the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of New York State filed a six count indictment against Truman Sr. The indictment alleges an extensive scheme where Truman fabricated a series of agreements for tenants to lease sections of the 180,000 square feet building. He attempted to use the agreements to obtain a loan of $794,000 to renovate the buildings at 106 North Warner Street and 270 Liberty Street in Oneida.

Prosecutors contend the effort to defraud continued until Truman Sr. directed his son to set the buildings on fire on November 12th. Following the fire Truman Sr. made a claim for $4.2 million to Erie Insurance Company.

On Tuesday, May 11th Jeffrey Truman Sr. appeared in Federal Court before Magistrate George Lowe. Truman Sr. was represented by attorney Edward Z. Menkin. Truman was allowed to go free on his own recognizance. The court scheduled his trial for July 6th.