Michael Marin, "Burning Man," Found Guilty of Arson

UPDATE: Michael Marin has been transported to a hospital. He collapsed shortly after the verdict was read.

A jury found "Burning Man" Michael Marin guilty of arson of an occupied structure today for burning down his Biltmore Estates mansion in July 2009.

Marin gave his explanation to New Times writer Paul Rubin the next month, which led to Rubin's "Burning Man" cover story.

Prosecutors alleged Marin had been having financial problems at the time, so he lit up his own pad, and escaped out a second-floor window wearing scuba equipment.

Rubin described Marin as a "Yale Law School-educated attorney, ex-Wall Street trader, high-level executive in Japan, artist and art collector, author, erstwhile philanthropist, small-plane pilot, devotee of the annual Burning Man Festival (irony noted) in Idaho, and, yes, scuba diver."

Marin was facing a $2.3 million payment on his home the following month, and being foreclosed on could have been a possibility. Marin told the cops at the time that he had less than $100,000 in liquid assets.

Rubin's story notes this is the same guy who traveled around the world, had a collection of original Picasso etchings, and bought that multimillion-dollar house.

Marin recalled his entire (detailed and colorful) alibi to Rubin during his interview, but according to a fire investigator's report, "I discovered four points of origin where Michael intentionally set fire to burn his house, and three additional areas of interest that showed inconsistent burn patterns with the surrounding area."

Marin was found guilty of arson of an occupied structure -- since he was in the house -- which carries a much higher penalty than a regular ol' arson charge.

Make sure to check out Rubin's story -- and all his blog posts on the case -- for all the details.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley