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.