East Hartford Man Sentenced to 71 Months for Arson, Insurance Fraud, Gambling and Extortion Offenses
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN A. BARILE, 52, of East Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 71 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for arson, insurance fraud, gambling and extortion offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, BARILE was a co-owner of Enzo’s Restaurant and Lounge, which was located on Main Street in Middletown. By 2009, Enzo’s was facing financial difficulty, and BARILE began planning to cause a fire at Enzo’s in order to collect the insurance proceeds. In November 2009, BARILE informed his co-owner about the plan and began consulting with others on how to start the fire to make it look like an accident.
On the evening of January 9, 2010, BARILE met and participated in conversations with others at Enzo’s about causing the fire the next morning. BARILE placed greasy rags in the kitchen around the fryolators and applied grease to the kitchen walls. Later in the evening, after the restaurant had closed, a fire began in the kitchen. BARILE was aware that a fire was burning in the kitchen. Rather than extinguishing the fire, BARILE transferred the fire to one or more of the greasy rags. BARILE intentionally allowed the fire to burn and purposefully did not alert the fire department or anyone else about the fire. BARILE then left the restaurant intending for the fire to damage or destroy the restaurant.
The co-owner was inside Enzo’s at the time of the fire, and two individuals were inside a restaurant next door. The Middletown Fire Department arrived a short time later, forced entry, rescued the co-owner and put out the fire. By the time the fire was put out, the fire had already caused significant damage to the restaurant.
After the fire, BARILE sought payment from an insurance company for losses suffered as a result of the fire, and concealed his role in causing the fire from the insurance company and law enforcement. The insurance company ultimately paid $189,787.69 to BARILE to settle the insurance claims related to the fire.
In addition, from at least 2010 through approximately January 2014, BARILE also conducted an illegal sports-related bookmaking operation. This illegal gambling business involved at least five other people including sub-bookmakers. During this time period, BARILE did not have any other employment or source of income, and the illegal sports-related bookmaking business was BARILE’s main source of income. At times, the gambling business grossed more than $2,000 per day.
One bettor who repeatedly placed bets with BARILE’s gambling business eventually owed him approximately $50,000 from unpaid gambling losses. On November 8, 2011, BARILE, along with two associates, met the bettor at a parking lot in Hartford. At the meeting, BARILE tased the bettor with a Taser or similar device in order to punish him for not paying his debts and enforce collection of the payment.
As part of his sentence, BARILE was ordered to pay restitution to the insurance company in the amount of $189,787.69. BARILE also was ordered to forfeit $165,287.69 that the government seized from BARILE’s bank account in November 2012 pursuant to a civil seizure warrant.
On February 4, 2016, BARILE pleaded guilty to one count of arson, one count of mail fraud, one count of conducting an illegal gambling business and one count of collecting an extension of credit by extortionate means.
BARILE, who is released on a $350,000 bond and under electronic monitoring, was ordered to report to prison on July 12, 2016.
According to court documents, BARILE was previously convicted in 1997 for conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and contempt of court stemming from his involvement in an organized crime-controlled illegal gambling business.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Middletown Police Department and the Connecticut State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anastasia E. King and Neeraj N. Patel.