A man who tried to extort nearly £100,000 from his landlord and deliberately set fire to a house he had been renting has been jailed for 12 years.
43 year old Joshua Rosenberg was found guilty of attempted extortion, wilful fireraising, attempted fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The court heard that Rosenberg and his wife moved into a property in Dollar in December 2014 and that he began sending numerous emails to the landlord and their solicitor throughout January 2015 making threats and demands for increasing amounts of money for legal costs and damages.
The threats included having the landlords struck off the landlord register, investigated by HMRC for tax evasion and Police Scotland for criminal offences and to have them declared bankrupt and to have their bank accounts, assets, investments and savings frozen.
He also threatened to involve an elderly relative reported for fraud and to include them in the civil proceeding.
In February 2015, fire destroyed part of the house and damaged his luxury car.
Investigators from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service found the car had a sheet soaked with petrol hanging from the door.Clothing, sheets and towels had been linked together and led from the garage into the house, which had been completely destroyed by fire.
The court heard that Rosenberg attempted to obtain £53,780 from his insurers by falsely claiming that the property had been broken into and set on fire.
He cited a report from a property maintenance company that he had actually produced himself.
Rosenberg also attempted to bribe and threaten a man into admitting to authorities that he had set the fire. When this did not succeed he sent letters to public officials purporting to be from that man. He also made a series of outlandish threats and claims.
Speaking following the sentencing, Nicky Patrick, Procurator Fiscal for Homicide and Major Crime, said:
“Joshua Rosenberg has today been brought to account for his persistent catalogue of criminal behaviour.
“This was a complex case which required close cooperation and careful investigation by police and prosecutors to piece together the full extent of his attempts to not only fraudulently make money but to then cover his tracks.
“Extortion can have a devastating financial and emotional impact on its victim and I would encourage anyone who receives material of this nature not to suffer in silence.
“Scotland’s police and prosecutors will deal with any such allegations with the sensitivity they deserve, and will make every effort to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended and brought to justice.”