A Minnesota supporter of former President Donald Trump who officials say staged a fire that he blamed on left-wing radicals pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud, prosecutors said.
Denis Molla, 30, had claimed that his camper was targeted because of his Trump flag.
He filed fraudulent insurance claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars after the 2020 incident at his Minneapolis-area residence, prosecutors said.
Molla also created a GoFundMe fundraiser after the fire.
Molla took more than $78,000 from an insurance company and donors who used GoFundMe, prosecutors said. He submitted insurance claims worth more than $300,000, they said.
His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attorney told NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis that Molla has paid back the insurance money and plans to return the GoFundMe cash.
Molla, of Brooklyn Center, told police that on Sept. 23, 2020, his camper was set on fire because of the Trump flag, and he claimed that his garage door was spray-painted with an antifa symbol and graffiti saying “Biden 2020” and “BLM.”
“It doesn’t matter what party we are, Republican, Democratic — I think this is just over and beyond terrible," he told KARE not long after the fire.
Molla submitted insurance claims for the garage, the camper, vehicles and the residence caused by the fire, according to court documents.
"In reality, Molla started his own property on fire and spray painted the graffiti on his own garage," the U.S. attorney's office for Minnesota said in a statement.
Molla could face up to four years in prison when he is sentenced later. He was released under multiple conditions the court set a few days after a warrant was issued for his arrest in July, according to court documents.
In a statement, GoFundMe said fundraising campaigns affiliated with Molla have been removed from its platform and said it cooperates with law enforcement investigations of allegedly fraudulent campaigns.
"We know trust is vital to our community and is our top priority," it said. "We are aware that bad actors exist and also why we take any misuse of our platform very seriously."