Longtime Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy accused of burning his SUV to collect insurance money

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Sher Moua walked out of court Tuesday without much to say. (KFSN)

Sher Moua walked out of court Tuesday without much to say. After 18 years as a Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy, he lost his job this year as Clovis Police investigated him for arson and insurance fraud.

Moua's 2002 Toyota 4-Runner burned in April near some warehouses a few blocks from his Clovis home.

Kelley Blue Book estimates the SUV's value at about $3,400, but according to an arrest warrant, Moua took out an insurance policy on it just a few days earlier and paid extra for coverage to increase its value.

At first, Moua claimed he had last seen the car the night before about 6:30 p.m. But investigators found surveillance video of him driving the car to the 500 club about 9:00 p.m. and leaving just before 2:00 a.m. Twenty minutes later, another camera spotted the 4-Runner leaving his home less than 15 minutes before the fire started.

All that is left of the car now is a charred out mess. Investigators said Moua admitted to spraying some lighter fluid in the car, lighting it on fire, and leaving the doors open so that it would burn better-- and then, he just walked home.

Moua's confession came about three weeks after the fire. Clovis Police said he came to talk to them while wearing his Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy uniform and driving his patrol car.

Police said when they confronted Moua with the video evidence; he told them he was having extreme money problems after a divorce and then the death of his ex-wife.

Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said, "Sometimes normal, honest people crack under financial stress and this looks like a prime example of that."

Capozzi said the best thing Moua did was confess. He said the confession, plus the financial difficulties, and Moua's years of law enforcement service could convince a judge to hand out a minimal punishment.

For the time being, though, Moua is charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor, but he hasn't been convicted and he's pleaded not guilty.

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fresno county sheriff departmentfresnoclovisfresno countyarsonClovisFresno
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