Scranton woman faces arson, fraud charges in house fire

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Connor Laine Groves, 27, of Scranton was arrested Monday on charges of second-degree arson, insurance fraud-presenting false information, fraudulent sales practice over $10,000, conspiracy to commit a nonforcible felony, first-degree criminal mischief, first-offense possession of a controlled substance-marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Scranton woman was arrested on a Greene County warrant Tuesday in connection with a house fire last October in Churdan that investigators believe was a product of arson motivated by insurance fraud.

Connor Laine Groves, 27, of 901 Grant St., Scranton, was charged with second-degree arson, insurance fraud-presenting false information, fraudulent sales practice over $10,000, conspiracy to commit a nonforcible felony, first-degree criminal mischief, first-offense possession of a controlled substance-marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The incident began Oct. 2, 2023, about 5:15 a.m., when the Greene County Sheriff’s office responded to a house fire in the 800 block of Sand Street in Churdan.

An informant told investigators that Groves allegedly told the informant that Groves enlisted a third party to “start the house on fire,” according to court records.

Groves also allegedly “tried to talk” a fourth party “into starting the house on fire a few months before the fire” in October.

The informant also told law enforcement that she helped Groves “move items out of the house a day or two before the fire,” according to court records.

A search warrant, executed at Groves’ Grant Street residence in Scranton, disclosed “items that she reported destroyed in the fire,” according to court records.

According to court records, Groves allegedly “collected insurance on the house by  submitting a proof of loss,” and she “admitted to putting down stuff that was not damaged or missing from the fire.”

No injuries were reported in the blaze, but the fire caused damage to two neighboring houses estimated at $10,000.

A warrant for Groves’ arrest was ordered May 30 in Greene County District Court and served July 9. Groves was held in the Greene County Jail on a $42,000 cash or surety bond. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing July 24 in Greene County District Court.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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