A Minnesota man who said his garage door was vandalized with graffiti and his camper was set on fire because of a “Trump 2020” flag displayed on it is facing fraud charges after he allegedly set the fire and spray painted the graffiti himself.
Denis Vladmirovich Molla, of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, is charged with two counts of wire fraud after allegedly “filing fraudulent insurance claims for a staged arson,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota said in a Tuesday statement.
Molla in 2020 reported to law enforcement that someone spray painted “Biden 2020,” “BLM,” and an Antifa symbol on his garage door. He also said his camper was set on fire because it had a “Trump 2020” flag on it and that he was targeted over his political beliefs, according to an indictment in the case.
Molla also provided written comments on GoFundMe accounts documenting the damage and thanking donors, according to court records.
“In reality, Molla started his own property on fire and spray painted the graffiti on his own garage,” officials said in the Tuesday statement.
An attorney for Molla declined to comment to USA TODAY.
Molla submitted over $300,000 in “fraudulent insurance claims,” following the incident, according to officials. He received approximately $61,000 from his insurance company, as well as more than $17,000 from donors on the fundraising platform GoFundMe.
Molla and his wife, Deana, previously told the Star Tribune that they were asleep in their home with their 2-year-old son and their 5-month-old daughter at the time of the incident. Emergency crews also helped rescue three dogs and four puppies from the home amid the fire, which burned down a detached garage and totaled three vehicles.
Molla pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Tuesday. He has been released from custody, according to court records.
If he is indicted on one of the wire fraud charges, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years, the Washington Post reported.