Former County Constable Jonathan Levenson Busted in Anti-Semitic Scam to Torch Home For Insurance Payout

A former Maricopa County constable was arrested over the weekend after police say he conspired to burn his house down so he could collect an insurance payout.

According to the Tempe Police Department, former Kyrene Justice Court Constable Jonathan Harold Irwin Levenson, who is Jewish, planned to make the blaze look like a hate crime.

Tempe police have been investigating Levenson, 30, for the past four months after detectives became aware that he'd contacted several people asking them to help him burn down his house.

Levenson's plan was as follows: he would be out of town when his house went up in flames. He wanted the fire to happen on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, and asked his conspirators to tag his house with anti-Semitic symbols before burning it down so it would look like a hate crime.

On May 15, Levenson went so far as to call police claiming someone had spray painted "Jew" on his car as it was parked in the 1200 block of West 1st Street in Tempe.

As for evidence of the alleged vandalism, Levenson had none -- he told police he washed the paint off his car before realizing he should have taken photos for the police report.

Levenson, on June 30, made a similar report to police, this time claiming that someone had painted anti-Semitic symbols on his house.

Police suspect the bogus reports were just attempts by Levenson to make a hate-based arson fire at his house look legit.

Levenson got popped on Saturday morning. After his arrest, he told police he'd conspired with others to burn down his house and collect the insurance money, however, he claims he decided to not go forward with the plan.

Levenson is currently facing felony charges of conspiracy to commit arson of an occupied structure and conspiracy to commit fraud schemes and artifices. Additionally, he's facing a misdemeanor count of false reporting to law enforcement.

None of Levenson's conspirators have been charged with any crimes, and Tempe Sergeant Steve Carbajal says no additional arrests are anticipated.

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James King
Contact: James King