CRIME

Fireman Admits Starting Blazes So He'd Get Paid To Put Them Out

His career has gone up in flames.
Raymond Swayney, 31, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to set timber afire and to defraud the United States
Raymond Swayney, 31, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to set timber afire and to defraud the United States

As moneymaking schemes go, this one wasn’t so hot.

A fireman in Cherokee, North Carolina, has pleaded guilty to intentionally starting fires on Native American lands so he’d be paid to help put them out.

On Monday, 31-year-old Raymond Swayney admitted in federal court that he and others purposely set seven fires between 2010 and 2014, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The blazes set by Swayney and his conspirators burned more than 420 acres of tribal land and cost more than $106,661.98 to extinguish.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs hired Swayney to be a temporary firefighter when emergencies occurred within the boundaries of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian land.

Because the position was temporary, Swayney was paid only for the number of hours worked after an active fire code was assigned, including time spent fighting the fire and post-fire maintenance of equipment, such as trucks, according to WYFF News 4.

The exact charges Swayney pleaded guilty to are one count of conspiracy to set timber afire and one count of defrauding the United States.

Swayney is currently being held pending sentencing. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to WLOS.com.

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