A Delmar man was charged with insurance fraud following a shed fire at his home in 2019.

Luke Mathew McDermott, 38, of Delmar, was charged with one count of insurance fraud — presenting false information — following an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau.

The charge stems from an investigation which began in February 2020. According to a criminal complaint filed by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, McDermott allegedly made false statements and submitted fraudulent documents in support of a fire claim.

On Sept. 21, 2019, fire broke out in McDermott’s machine shed. The shed was a total loss.

McDermott filed an insurance claim and submitted documents stating he had purchased 216 bales of hay and 52 bales of straw from Case DeVries of Colorado three days prior to the fire. McDermott’s claim stated that all the straw and about 163 bales of hay were destroyed in that fire, according to charging documents filed in Clinton County District Court.

The insurance company paid $49,976.90 to McDermott as a result of that claim.

The insurance company later contacted DeVries, who said McDermott ordered about 90 bales of hay valued at about $24,000 in November 2019, not in September prior to the fire as McDermott had claimed, according to charging documents. 

DeVries said McDermott never paid for the hay purchase and that the supposed invoices McDermott gave to the insurance company were estimates, not invoices, according to charging documents.

McDermott was arrested by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Dec. 20 after an arrest warrant was issued by Clinton County District Court. McDermott was cited and released with a promise to appear in court on a later date.

The Sentinel-Press’ attempts to contact McDermott went unanswered.

The insurance fraud charge is a Class D felony. Such felonies may carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and fines ranging from $750 to $7,500. There is no mandatory prison term.

Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at (515) 654-6556.