Mountain View business owner indicted on arson, fraud charges

Federal prosecutors allege woman misled insurers, set fire to her store

A Mountain View business owner has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and arson, according to a May 13 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment alleges that Fauzia Lodhi, owner of the Postal Express at 801 W. El Camino Real, intentionally inflated the value of her business and then purposely set fire to her store to collect on the insurance policy in order to pay personal debts.

The four alarm fire Lodhi is alleged to have set in the early hours of May 17, 2006, completely destroyed several neighboring businesses at the corner of El Camino Real and Castro Street: Super Fluffy Cleaners and Laundry, DBT Mini Market, a beauty salon, as well as the Postal Express. A Dollar Store in the strip mall had minor damage from the fire. No one was injured in the blaze, but the corner remains a vacant lot.

Lodhi could face a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count of mail fraud and malicious use of fire, a maximum sentence of 10 years for use of fire in commission of a federal felony, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of those counts.

Lodhi appeared in federal court in San Jose on May 12 for an initial hearing. She is currently out on a $100,000 bail bond. While on bail she will be required to submit to electronic monitoring. She is scheduled to appear in court again on June 16 at 9 a.m. before Judge Jeremy Fogel.


Like this comment
Posted by Kidder
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

"The four-alarm fire..." with a hyphen.

Like this comment
Posted by MmHmm.
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Nobody cares about the typos except the chronically nit-picky.

Like this comment
Posted by Lodhi
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Is "Lodhi" a first name or last name or does this person have only a single word name?

Like this comment
Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on May 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

Fauzia is her first name. The article has been corrected.

Like this comment
Posted by gcoladon
a resident of North Whisman
on May 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Wow, that's pretty terrible. I'm glad this person was caught.

Like this comment
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm

AC is a registered user.

I remember this fire, and I believe I even have photos of it; I'll check at home.

It was pretty major. I had never guessed that it would have been insurance arson.

As it is, I lost clothes at the cleaners when it burned down. :( I never knew how to get ahold of them. I think I might have the claim ticket somewhere still.

Like this comment
Posted by jupiterk
a resident of Gemello
on May 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

is this the one that happened at the corner of castro and El camino real? It seems like that happened ages ago. Anyways, its criminal behavior. justice done. I can't believe how selfish people can be to do such acts. The lady not only destroyed buildings and businesses but also people's livelihood.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom Jefferson
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

..."presumed innocent until proven guilty"

Like this comment
Posted by Thom
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm

What a shame and if she did in fact set the fire she is in for a long and hard lesson.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr. DePortum
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 20, 2011 at 2:24 am

Get the ROPE!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Phantom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2011 at 8:13 am

Note to self.. withdraw all funds from bank account.. that way they dont track the money

Like this comment
Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm

The Eye is a registered user.

Interesting. Also interesting is that the other story that just came out about the Hispanic duo that tried to rob Clyde's Liquors (that place seems to be a magnet for hold-ups) has the comments section locked down, so no one can comment. Draconian, anyone? So much for freedom of the press, and the public opinion. Oh well, most of you probably won't read this comment awayway, because I'll wager it'll get deleted soon after posting. We'll see...

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