Wyoming County man sentenced to 17 years in prison for arson, insurance fraud

James Lester.jpg

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison in a West Virginia arson and insurance fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors said 47-year-old James Lester was sentenced in federal court for his conviction on 23 felonies. Lester also was ordered to pay nearly $506,000 in restitution and forfeit an additional $120,000.

According to court records, Lester, his father and others devised a scheme to obtain insurance payouts on houses they intentionally burned and were insured for amounts far greater than their value. The houses were in Matoaka in Mercer County, Huntington in Cabell County, and Ikes Fork in Wyoming County.

Lester’s father, Windel Lester, was convicted of 17 felonies but died before his sentencing. Three others are serving prison sentences for their roles.

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