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June 30--ST. LOUIS -- A St. Louis man was arrested Monday on mail fraud and arson-related charges, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Mardell McGee, 45, owned businesses that bought, rehabbed, rented and sold residential properties, prosecutors said. In late 2011, he sold a St. Louis house to a "woman with whom he had a relationship and a child" for $100,000, financing its purchase through one of his businesses, Nationwide Lending Services, they said.
In the early morning of Feb. 27, 2012, McGee "caused a fire to be set" at the house, prosecutors said.
McGee was "involved" in the insurance claim, which later resulted in a $80,265 check to the homeowner and Nationwide Lending, the U.S. Attorney's office said. McGee deposited the entire check in a Nationwide Lending bank account he opened the same day.
Nine months later, on Nov. 7, State Farm, the insurance carrier, asked for the money back. Six days after that, McGee transferred $55,000 of the money to two other accounts he controlled, prosecutors said.
McGee was indicted June 25 on two counts of mail fraud, one count of arson in furtherance of mail fraud, and one count on money laundering. The indictment was unsealed Monday after his arrest.
In a federal civil lawsuit filed in January by another insurance company, McGee was accused of involvement in a June 13, 2013, arson that damaged a Calverton Park home.
In 2005, McGee was sentenced to 366 days in prison after pleading guilty of one count of making false statements on HUD applications and one count of misusing a Social Security. He was also ordered to repay $230,481.
Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.
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