Couple sentenced to over 3 years in fraud case

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia couple were sentenced to more than three years each after pleading guilty in a scheme to fraudulently collect renter’s insurance benefits.

Jimmie Thompson, 27, and Thanikwa Thompson, 25, of Martinsburg, were sentenced to 37 months each Monday and ordered to pay more than $54,000 in restitution, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell said. They pled guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in December.

The couple took out an $85,000 renter’s insurance policy from Allstate Insurance Co. in February 2018, Powell’s office said in a news release. They purchased a space heater later that month and put it against an inflatable air mattress in their apartment before leaving the apartment with their dog to let the heater catch the apartment on fire, prosecutors said.

The couple filed a fraudulent claim with Allstate to recover $50,000 of losses from the fire and for a hotel room for several months of temporary housing, the release said.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at