Providence Landlord Sentenced in Arson-for-Profit Scheme


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rony Metellus, 52, of Providence, was sentenced on Wednesday to 42 months in federal prison for setting fire to an occupied three family tenement building he owned, in an arson-for profit scheme and insurance fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré and Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., also ordered Metellus to serve 3 years supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Metellus pleaded guilty on August 3, 2015, to one count of defrauding an insurance company – wire fraud.

According to court records and information presented to the court, an investigation by the Providence Fire Department Arson Squad, the Providence Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with the assistance of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, determined that an early morning fire on July 23, 2014, to an occupied three family tenement at 346 Admiral Street in Providence was intentionally set. The investigation determined that the building’s owner, Rony Metellus, intentionally set fire to the building in a scheme to collect insurance payments.

At the time of the fire, three adults and three children were living in a first floor apartment. The second and third floors, including the apartment where the fire was intentionally set, were vacant. The building sustained significant damage.

At the time of his guilty plea, Metellus admitted to the court that he drove from his Providence home at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the morning on July 23, 2014, set fire to the Admiral Street building, and quickly returned home as Providence fire apparatus were responding to the fire. Metellus admitted that he hired a public adjuster to represent him in filing an insurance claim for damages to the burned building. Records indicate a claim was filed with the insurer, Lloyd’s of London.

Metellus has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on August 8, 2014.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.