MI Launderer Gets Prison in Explosion Case

Posted April 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm

After a series of legal rulings and responses by Alexandro Yfantidis regarding his 2015 conviction on fraud charges related to a massive explosion that destroyed Best Textile Services in Warren, MI, Yfantidis, 76, the owner/operator of the laundry, recently began a 54-month prison sentence in Ohio, according to news reports.

The latest twist in a case that involved the deliberate opening of three natural gas lines at the laundry and the placement of lit candles on the floor in order to trigger an explosion, is that Yfantidis recently backed away from his agreement to accept a guilty plea, which led to his sentencing in February 2015.

The blast on May 5, 2011, shook a wide area of the neighborhood and damaged 24 nearby homes and 23 businesses. Three passersby received minor injuries.

Yfantidis, who had sought to delay his prison time because he’s caring for his ailing 71-year-old wife, who has dementia, now claims his attorney pressured him into a guilty plea for a crime he didn’t commit.

As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors had reduced the six charges, which included mail fraud, bank fraud and using explosives to commit a felony, to a single charge of mail fraud. Yfantidis admitted that he had tried to defraud his insurance carrier, Farmers Insurance, the reports said, citing federal court documents.

After approving several previous delays, U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III refused Yfantidis’ latest request to delay his imprisonment based on claims of lawyerly misrepresentation and the need to care for his wife. On March 22, the judge ordered the defendant to jail at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institute, a low-security prison in Lisbon, OH. “It has been nearly five years since the day of the explosion, during which time Yfantidis has not been incarcerated,” Judge Murphy wrote in a court order. “He was indicted nearly two years ago. And he pled guilty over a year ago. In short, he has had sufficient time to organize his affairs, including the care of his wife.”

In addition to jail time, Yfantidis was ordered to pay $1.35 million in restitution, including $236,633 to the insurance company. Click here for details.