Crime - Sacto 911

French train hero’s dad found guilty of wire and mail fraud in huge arson case

The father of French train hero Spencer Stone was found guilty Tuesday of mail and wire fraud in connection with a huge arson case that has included sensational allegations of national security implications, murder and threats from federal prosecutors.

Brian Stone, a disbarred attorney from Elk Grove, was found guilty of 13 counts by a jury in federal court Tuesday after a four-day trial. Stone, who is not in custody, was ordered to appear for sentencing July 12 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

He was one of three defendants indicted in 2016 in the arson investigation, which prosecutors said involved $1.5 million in fraudulent insurance payments following a series of arsons.

Brian Stone, whose son and two of his friends came to fame after thwarting a terror attack on a Paris-bound train in August 2015, was accused of assisting in filing insurance claims after seven fires in Sacramento and Carmichael between 2009 and 2013. His son has previously told The Bee that he has not known what his father does “for a long time.”

Co-defendant Jamal Mustafa Shehadeh pleaded guilty in February in an unusual Saturday night hearing in federal court in Sacramento and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Shehadeh, who is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Lompoc, has since renounced his guilty plea, claiming he was pressured into taking it when he was sick and intimidated by prosecutors allegedly saying they would prosecute his family if he did not take a deal.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Sacramento has said it will respond to the claims in court filings, and Shehadeh’s federal defender, Matthew Bockman, has declined to comment. Shehadeh also accused his own lawyers of refusing to listen to his claims, and last week Morrison agreed to a request from the federal defender's office that a new lawyer be appointed.

Shehadeh’s case has included filings of information that includes classified materials, as well as suggestions in court filings that he was tied to a 1996 slaying of a woman who had moved to Sacramento from China.

A third defendant and relative of Shehadeh’s, Saber Shehadeh, faces trial beginning May 14.

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