Man accused of arson to Rent-A-Center pleads guilty to wire fraud, identity theft PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 February 2011 12:17

Government moves to dismiss arson charges in plea agreement

 

By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
After being accused of setting fire to the Rent-A-Center in Liberal, former store manager Shivantha Kulatunga has pleaded guilty to the theft of a laptop computer and aggravated identity theft in exchange for the government requesting the charges of arson and other counts be dismissed.
When the fire occurred in the strip mall Jan. 4, 2010, Coronado Plaza owner John Mallon hired his own investigators to determine if arson was the cause of the fire. His investigators concluded that the fire was arson.
The fire consumed the Rent-A-Center, its contents, and caused damage to neighboring businesses in the same strip.
“It’s a great disappointment to me that a guy could disrupt a number of businesses and cause property and income loss of several million dollars and be charged with wire fraud and identity theft and not arson,” Mallon said following the plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Wichita.
Kulatunga appeared Wednesday in federal court to plead guilty to wire fraud and identity theft a day before his jury trial was set to begin. 
Kulatunga admitted that he took a Toshiba computer in Dec. 2009 without paying for it and gave it to his girlfriend as a Christmas present. He then entered another person’s name in the store’s computer system as renting the computer without the person’s knowledge or consent.
Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 36 months in federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom commended the Liberal Police Department, the Liberal Fire Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lind for their work on the case.

 
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

Facebook

About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

For more, contact us.

Subscribe

Get the Daily Leader delivered to your home for $101.45 per year in Liberal, or $140 outside Liberal. Call 620-626-0840 for a subscription today. You can receive the print edition or an electronic edition! To subscribe today, email circulation@hpleader.com.

RocketTheme Joomla Templates