Former Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud
A former Strawberry Point firefighter has pleaded guilty to Insurance Fraud, in connection with a string of incidents in Clayton, Buchanan and Delaware Counties.
Terry Groth entered a guilty plea last month in Clayton County District Court, marking the 3rd conviction in the investigation.
In September of 2014, Groth and two accomplices, Damian Welsh of Strawberry Point and Zachary Norton of Monticello, were charged in Buchanan County District Court with Arson 2nd degree and fraudulent insurance claims submissions. Groth pleaded guilty to arson, while the other two received deferred judgements.
On January 6th of 2016, Groth pleaded guilty in Delaware County District Court to fraudulent practices 3rd degree. Welsh had pleaded guilty to criminal mischief 3rd degree.
The string of insurance fraud started in September of 2011 when Groth's truck was found burned up on a rural Buchanan County road. He filed an insurance claim, alleging his truck was stolen from his Strawberry Point shop, which was also burglarized.
Authorities determined Groth had paid Welsh and Norton to steal Groth's truck, drive it to a spot in Buchanan County, and set it on fire. He also paid Welsh $100 to vandalize his father's property in Manchester.
Groth had also received nearly $8,000 in insurance proceeds for tools that were allegedly stolen in the shop burglary and $5,000 from the Manchester vandalism.
In early 2013, law enforcement received information that prompted an investigation into Groth's insurance claims.
The investigation involved the Iowa State Fire Marshall's Office, Buchanan County Sheriff, County Attorneys from Buchanan, Clayton and Delaware Counties, Iowa National Insurance Crime Bureau, and Insurance Fraud Bureau.