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Denver developer sentenced to ten years in federal prison for condo arson

A Denver developer was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison for arson, torching condominiums on Grove Street.

Michael Marte, 55 also was ordered to pay about $2.9 million restitution to the arson victims, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Colorado. Marte also will serve three years of supervised probation after his prison term.

The fire, at 1920 and 1930 Grove Street, was set May 10, 2018, in buildings that were under construction.

After being indicted in federal court on arson and fraud charges, Marte was arrested in February 2019 in the Carribean. Marte was paid an annual salary of about $200,000 to supervise the construction project.

Marte purchased a $4 million insurance police on the property, naming himself as the beneficiary,  and he unsuccessfully tried to collect shortly after the fire.

“Mr. Marte thought he could steal $4,000,000 by igniting a fire that destroyed someone else’s property and put lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn in the release. “But arson is a serious crime that has serious criminal consequences, as Mr. Marte has now discovered the hard way.”

Denver firefighters battled the three-alarm fire near Empower Field at Mile High for about eight hours. The loss was valued at about $4 million.

Marte, who was charged by indictment on Jan. 6, 2018, and pleaded guilty on Nov. 25, 2019, was remanded into federal custody at the end of the sentencing hearing. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez.

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