Firefighter Admits To Purposefully Setting Fires On Cherokee Land

A fireman in North Carolina faces five years in prison for starting fires on a Cherokee reservation in a money scheme that lasted more than a year.

A North Carolina firefighter has been busted for purposefully starting fires as a means of ensuring job security.

Raymond Swayney, 31, admitted to setting blazes on an Indian reservation so that he would be paid for extinguishing them, CNN reports.

He and some unnamed accomplices set at least seven fires between March 2010 and February 2014 on land that belongs to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian.

Swayney pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to set a timber fire and to defraud the United States. The fires Swayney was instrumental in starting destroyed more than 400 acres and cost over $100,000 to put out.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs hires temporary firefighters in the event of an emergency on the reservation. They are paid based on how many hours they work extinguishing fires along with time spent on other duties, including maintenance of equipment and cleaning trucks.

Apparently, there wasn’t enough activity happening naturally on the reservation to line Swayney’s pockets, so he took matters into his own hands.

Luckily he has finally been caught, but he got away with this disgraceful scheme for far too long. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. 

Banner Photo Credit: Pixabay user skeeze

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