A 53-year-old man recently arrested in the Carribean has been indicted in federal court on arson and fraud charges accusing him of torching two townhome buildings near Broncos Stadium at Mile High last year in an alleged scheme to recoup $4.5 million in insurance money, documents show.
Michael Marte is charged with using fire to commit a federal felony, two counts of arson and three counts of wire fraud, according to court records. Marte was indicted in December but the indictment documents had been sealed and weren’t released until Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Marte was the managing member of ADC Construction LLC, which had a $4.5 million insurance policy with The Burlington Insurance Company when he allegedly lit two buildings on the 1900 block of Grove Street on fire on May 10, indictment documents say. Each of the two buildings had seven townhomes for a total of 14 and were in the final phase of construction, the records say.
More than 100 firefighters and 30 emergency vehicles responded to the three-alarm fires that devoured the buildings. Four people were evacuated from one nearby house. It took about three hours to extinguish the blaze that started around 1:55 a.m. The slot-home structures — two wood-frame stories built on a concrete first floor — were demolished.
At the time of the fires, Marte was also the construction manager of the two buildings. On the same day as the fires, Marte sent claim letters to Burlington seeking insurance claims for the buildings, the indictment says.
Marte faces a combined penalty of up to 110 years in prison for the six charges, court records show. Authorities in the Caribbean country of Sint Maarten – on the Dutch side – arrested Marte on Dec. 27.
The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office of International Affairs, has made a formal extradition request for his return to the U.S., court records show.