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Brooklyn Center man who staged arson with 'Biden 2020' graffiti pleads guilty to hoax

Denis Molla admitted to wire fraud for filing a false insurance claim and accepting GoFundMe donations after starting a fire and painting graffiti on his property.

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Back in September 2020, Denis Molla gave an interview outside the charred remains of his camper and trucks, telling KARE 11 he believed the motive for the arson was that someone didn't like his new "Trump 2020" flag.

After all, his garage was tagged with "Biden 2020," Black Lives Matter," and the anarchist "A" symbol.

"It doesn't matter what party we are, Republican, Democratic — I think this is just over and beyond terrible," Molla said at the time.

Making the story even more sympathetic, Molla and his wife described getting their kids out of their Brooklyn Center house and saving puppies from the burning garage.

"I couldn't see anything. I had to just feel for where the puppies were," Molla said.

But the whole thing turned out to be a lie. A hoax. And Molla's insurance claims and the GoFundMe money he collected were a crime.

Inside a federal courtroom Tuesday, Molla admitted he started the fire and he painted the graffiti so that he could make a $300,000 insurance claim and collect $17,000 in GoFundMe donations.

He pleaded guilty to wire fraud — sobbing through much of the court hearing.

Molla's attorney says the defendant paid back all the insurance money he collected and has saved up enough to pay back the GoFundMe donations, as soon as the court facilitates it.

The plea deal didn't nail down a prison term, so when Molla is sentenced at a future date, he will likely face three to four years in prison, but the judge has the discretion to give less.

RELATED: Brooklyn Center man indicted after allegedly staging arson

RELATED: Eagan man sentenced to probation for involvement in Jan. 6 insurrection

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