Farmer charged for costs of arson fire

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Farmer charged for costs of arson fire By Times Staff SANTA MARIA — A local farmer who earlier this year admitted culpability in a blaze at his complex is being charged for costs in association with the fire. The Santa Barbara County Counsel’s office is asking Edward Sutti for the sum of more than $8,000 as reimbursement for the costs of providing fire suppression, and more than $24,000 in reimbursement for the costs of investigating the fire, making necessary reports with respect to the fire and the administrative costs of operating a fire suppression cost recovery program. A hearing on the civil suit is slated for Feb. 4 before Santa Maria Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville. The fire occurred Oct. 2, 1999, at the old Union Sugar complex at 2820 Betteravia Road. A massive warehouse burned, and numerous Santa Barbara County Fire, Orcutt Fire Department and Santa Maria fire units responded. An investigation led to criminal charges against Sutti. On Aug. 22, 2002, Sutti pleaded no contest to arson, insurance fraud and attempted false deposition and filing a false tax return. Sutti, as part of his pretrial settlement, is being required to pay a $310,000 fine. He also is facing up to 11 years in prison, but has been given until next summer to make restitution. A sentencing hearing is planned at that time. Oct. 24, 2002 :nav Source:

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