For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 30, 2009

Chris Bentzinger Sentenced for Arson and Insurance Fraud

(Boise) – American Falls resident, Chris N. Bentzinger, was sentenced today for insurance fraud and first degree arson, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Sixth District Judge Don L. Harding ordered Benztinger to serve 15 years with five years fixed for arson. Bentzinger was also sentenced to 10 years for insurance fraud with five years fixed. The court suspended the consecutive prison sentences but retained jurisdiction for 180 days.

The court also ordered Bentzinger to pay more than $41,000 to Zurich American Insurance Company, Balboa Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Insurance Company.

On October 21, 2008, a Power County jury found Bentzinger, 33, guilty of first degree arson for intentionally setting his vehicle on fire. Bentzinger was also found guilty on a second count of insurance fraud. This conviction arose from the fact that he filed a loss report with Farm Bureau Insurance under his homeowner’s insurance policy. In this claim Bentzinger stated he had lost archery equipment, binoculars, a laptop computer and Game Boy video console totaling more than $4,700 in value in the vehicle fire.

The Special Prosecutions Unit of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division and the Idaho Department of Insurance investigated the case at the request of the Power County Sheriff. Deputy Attorney General Rondee Blessing and Power County Prosecutor Randy Kline prosecuted the case.

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