Man, 23, gets probation in fraud plot

June 30, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A Takoma Park man was given probation and a suspended prison term yesterday for helping a friend set fire to his car in a scheme to avoid loan payments.

Onis Anthony Francis, 23, pleaded guilty to making false statements to a police officer in Howard Circuit Court. A charge of burning property to defraud the loan company was dropped in the plea agreement.

Judge Dennis Sweeney sentenced Mr. Francis to six months in prison but suspended the term. He then ordered Mr. Francis to complete six months of probation, conduct 50 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine.

Judge Sweeney said he will consider giving Francis probation before judgment -- meaning the guilty verdict will be struck from his record -- if he meets the terms of his probation.

"Don't take up a life of crime," the judge told him. "You acted so stupidly here, you're going to be so unsuccessful in a life of crime."

Nett Franklin Missick, 22, of Washington was given three years of probation in May after pleading guilty to burning property to defraud his loan company.

Mr. Missick also was ordered to repay the $5,345 he owed for his 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier, which was destroyed in the fire, to the loan company, General Motors Acceptance Corp. of Landover.

The scheme failed when Mr. Missick burned his face after setting fire to the car near Rocky Gorge Reservoir in Scaggsville on Dec. 13. He was not seriously injured.

After the incident, police officers were called to Mr. Francis' former apartment in North Laurel, where Mr. Missick reported he was a carjacking victim.

Mr. Missick told police he ran to Mr. Francis' apartment for help after someone pulled him from his car. He said the assailant threw gasoline on him, ignited the fuel and drove off with the car.

Mr. Francis, who initially gave police a false name, first said he saw Mr. Missick in his neighborhood and allowed him to use his telephone to call for help. He later admitted that he took Mr. Missick home to get help after their scheme backfired. He also said Mr. Missick had offered him money to get rid of his car.

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