A Trump fan got widespread sympathy after his garage was burned and defaced with 'Biden 2020' graffiti. Prosecutors say he did it himself in a $300K insurance scam.

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  • Prosecutors said a Minnesota man faked a politically motivated attack in an insurance scam.

  • They said Dennis Molla sprayed pro-Biden and BLM graffiti on his garage then set it on fire.

  • He sought a $300,000 insurance payout plus GoFundMe donations, an indictment said.

A Trump supporter falsely claimed his garage was burned by left-wing extremists in a $300,000 insurance-scam attempt, federal prosecutors say.

Dennis Molla, of Minnesota, set his own garage on fire after scrawling it with graffiti of an anarchy symbol, BLM, and Biden 2020 during the last presidential election campaign, according to an indictment reviewed by Insider. Prosecutors said Molla wanted to defraud insurers by claiming he had been politically targeted.

His story gained widespread sympathetic media coverage as he described discovering that his home had been attacked.

On September 23, 2020, Molla told CBS Minnesota that he awoke early that morning to "a loud boom, or a bang" outside his home and saw three people running away.

The outlet cited a police report that said Molla's garage, car, and three other vehicles were on fire.

Molla had been flying Trump 2020 flags at the property, he told CBS. He told police that the attack was politically motivated and referred to it as a "hate crime" in his insurance claim, court documents say.

"For them to see me express my beliefs as a Republican, it's crazy to think it came down to this," he told the Star-Tribune newspaper.

In his indictment, prosecutors said: "In reality, as Molla well knew, Molla started his own property on fire, Molla spray painted the graffiti on his own property, and there were no unknown males near his home."

Molla was charged with wire fraud over his false insurance claims and two fundraisers in his name.

According to the indictment, he made multiple insurance claims totaling $300,000. The company rejected some but paid out $61,000, it said.

In response, according to the document, Molla threatened to report the insurance company to authorities.

He also raised $17,000 in donations from two GoFundMe fundraisers, the indictment said. Two fundraisers matching that description were still online Wednesday (here is the first and the second). They both have a message of thanks purporting to be from Molla, dated November 2020.

Molla's story came at the height of the 2020 presidential campaign, when conservative media focused on issues of left-wing violence.

The story got widespread attention on Fox News, CBS News, and The New York Post.

Though it was reported by those newsrooms as an unproven set of allegations, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, speaking the day after the purported attack, viewed the matter as settled.

"This is a message being sent by the far left, and I think people are beginning to see that arsonist behavior, looting, even murder — none of it is off the table," she said.

Her guest, the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, said: "We all know that if this were right-wingers performing this kind of violence, Joe Biden would be out there on the front lines proclaiming that right-wing ideology was innately linked to violence and cruelty."

Read the original article on Business Insider