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Husband and wife face hearing on fraud, arson

July 18, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Chambersburg, Pa., husband and wife face a preliminary hearing Tuesday on charges of insurance fraud and arson in connection with a home fire.

Richard Thomas Scalia, 36, and Serena M. Scalia, 23, both of 3821 Fetterhoff Chapel Road, Chambersburg, are charged with two counts each of insurance fraud and Serena M. Scalia also was charged with arson in connection with a fire in their home five years ago, according to charging documents in District Justice Shirley Shatzer's office.

They were arraigned by Shatzer earlier this month.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Skip Sydnor investigated the fire.

According to court records, Serena Scalia was the last person to leave the house at 8 a.m. on July 1, 1998. The alarm was called in at 8:16 a.m., court records said.

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According to court records, in May 2003 the couple submitted bills to the Erie Insurance Co. for $233,702 for the repair of their house.

The amount was inflated by $14,000 for repairs that would not have occurred as a result of the fire, court records allege.

The couple started the MSB Construction Co. after the fire, and the construction company did most of the repair work, court records said. Serena Scalia was listed as the president of MSB.

The investigation into the cause of the blaze showed that accelerants were used in three locations in the house - on the living room couch, in a stairway to the second floor and in a second floor loft, court records allege.

A preliminary hearing for the couple is set for July 22 in Franklin County Central Court in Chambersburg.

The Scalias were free on personal recognizance bonds, Shatzer said.

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