A Lower Moreland man could face 15 years to life in prison and a fine up to $2 million after being convicting in federal court this week of burning his auto repair shop to the ground two years ago.
Michael Giamo, 29, purposely destroyed his business, One Source Motors, 14001 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia, in May of 2010 after falling behind on his rent and utility bills. According to the Phillyburbs.com report, Giamo conspired with another person, Isael “Izzy” Kniestedt, who had been living in the U.S. illegally since at least 2007.
An investigation of the scene revealed a pile of burned promotional t-shirts on an office chair and the area around it. It was determined that someone had intentionally poured gasoline on the shirts and started the fire.
Giamo was in Brazil at the time of the fire, but records indicate that he called a phone line in Pennsylvania the day before the fire, and then Giamo received a call from that same phone line on his computer five minutes after the fire. According to documents, Giamo left instructions for Kniestedt on where to find the gasoline and paid him $10,000 cash to burn the building down. Kniestedt then gave an unnamed person $200 to break in the building and commit the act. Months later, Giamo received $127,000 in insurance payouts and gave Kniestedt somewhere between $1,200 and $1,300.
Giamo was found guilty of mail fraud, conspiracy, using fire to commit mail fraud, maliciously burning a building used in interstate commerce, making false statements and obstruction of justice.
Kniestedt pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and the federal equivalent of two arson charges. He’s scheduled for sentencing June 19.
Giamo has been in federal prison since August and is scheduled for sentencing on June 20.