DENVER – A man charged in federal court for burning down two townhome buildings under construction near Empower Field at Mile High last year pleaded guilty Monday to one count of arson.
Michael Marte, 53, was arrested on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten on December 27, 2018, after being indicted on federal charges in connection with the May 10, 2018 inferno that destroyed two buildings.
The two buildings, located at both 1920 and 1930 Grove Street in Denver, contained 14 townhomes and were in the final phases of construction when the fire started. Marte was a managing member of ADC Construction, LLC, which was building the townhomes.
Prosecutors say Marte set fire to the $4 million projects to collect on the insurance payout. However, the insurance policy had a specific section saying that it would not pay out losses resulting from criminal acts by managers of the construction company, according to an indictment.
Denver Fire investigators and ATF agents quickly suspected arson. One key piece of evidence was surveillance from a video doorbell cameras, showing Marte’s car in the area before the fire and then a man fitting Marte’s description quickly walking away after it had started, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Marte remains free on bond. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25 to an agreed-upon mandatory 10 years in federal prison, according to the release.