UPDATED STORY 8/23/2018
Four members of a prominent Wyoming County family have been found guilty for a long list of felony charges related to an arson and insurance fraud scheme.
According to United States Attorney Mike Stuart, Windel Lester was found guilty of 17 felony charges and faces 340 years imprisonment. James “Punkin” Lester was found guilty of 23 felony charges and faces 475 years imprisonment. Georgetta Lester Kenney was found guilty of 7 felony charges and faces 140 years imprisonment. Greg Lester was found guilty of 4 felony charges and faces 80 years imprisonment. Sentencing hearings for the defendants are scheduled for December 20, 2018.
Officials said between April of 2012 and January of 2016, the Lester family took part in three separate, but interrelated schemes involving arson, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering. Their goal was to get money by fraudulently obtaining insurance money on homes they intentionally burned.
Investigators said the homes were insured for more than they were worth. The properties involved were located at Matoaka in Mercer County, Huntington in Cabell County, and Ikes Fork in Wyoming County.
ORIGINAL STORY 11/17/2017
WYOMING COUNTY, W. Va. (WVNS) — Four members of a prominent Wyoming County family face a 28-count felony indictment alleging insurance fraud after setting two of their own properties on fire, court records show.
Windel Lester, James Edward Lester, Gregory Lester, and Georgetta Lester are all facing felony counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit arson, use of fire to commit wire or mail fraud, unlawful monetary transactions and money laundering.
Windel Lester is a member of the Board of Directors a local banks and owns owns Lester Home Center, Inc., Lester Mobile Home Sales, Inc. and several other businesses throughout the area.
The allegations are related to crimes that happened on two properties owned by the Lester family- 101 Smokeless Road in Matoaka in Mercer County and 3542 Norwood Road in Huntington, Cabell County.
According to court documents, the four stated above would purchase cheap, vacant properties, obtain insurance, and then set the property on fire to collect money from their insurance provider. Documents say they would also create a fake list of furniture and items inside the home to get more insurance money.
The family allegedly claimed more than $550,000 through their insurance and split the money between the four.
If found guilty, all of them will have to forfeit all of their property, pay back $556,135.68, and faces prison time.
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