CTV Kitchener

A Fergus resident has been sentenced to jail and probation after setting fire to his house and claiming it wasn’t his doing.

According to a press release from insurance firm Aviva Canada, the man was found guilty of committing arson for fraudulent purposes. Last week, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail and two months on probation.

The Aug. 19, 2013 fire was reported to authorities by bystanders who saw smoke coming from the house.

According to the press release, the man inside the house – which had recently been foreclosed on – said he woke up to discover a fire in his basement.

Aviva, which handled the man’s house insurance, and the Office of the Fire Marshal then began separate investigations into the fire.

Among other things, they found that the house had no working fire alarms.

The man’s insurance claim was denied, as Aviva believed the man had the financial motive to commit arson.

“We take firm and decisive action against those who engage in insurance fraud, as soon as we become aware of it,” Sarah Zimmerman, Aviva Canada’s senior vice-president of automobile and property claims, said in the release.

Aviva is working through the court system to obtain possession of the house, which they will then sell in order to recuperate the outstanding mortgage amount on the property.

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