Lima man who started fires to scam Red Cross gets probation

LIMA — A Lima man who police say took part in a scheme to secure funds from the American Red Cross under bogus circumstances was sentenced Monday to three years on probation. James Blum was also ordered to register annually as an arson offender.

According to prosecutors, Blum, 35, conspired with the owner of a home on Franklin Street in Lima to cause damage to the residence by starting a fire. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Randall Basinger said Blum in the past had “started some fires and collected money from the Red Cross in an apparent scam or attempt to get money” from the agency.

Blum said he was under the influence of drugs when he conspired with the homeowner, who has not been charged.

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