When the word “Fargo” comes up, nearly everyone immediately thinks of the critically acclaimed film or television series. While hilarious, I’m sure the Minnesota-set show may cause frustration and confusion among those who live in Fargo, North Dakota. Recently, the tragic story of a Fargo (North Dakota) family has caught some local media attention. What seemed like gross misfortune may actually have risen out of an attempt at committing insurance fraud, arson, and avoiding mechanics lien foreclosure.

The Story

Honestly, the Coen Brothers might want to include this tale as a side story on Fargo (the television show).

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In 2012, Quang Son and his family suffered the loss of their home. The house caught fire, resulting in over $230,000 in damage which included a large hole in the roof. This fire, officials suspect, started due to an electrical mishap. As a result, Quang Son, his wife, and his two children had to spend the holidays living in hotels and other temporary housing. Thankfully, the Son family’s insurance took care of a lot of the mess. Still, reconstruction took months and plenty of labor from both the Son family and hired contractors. One contractor working on the damaged home was not paid in full, and filed a mechanics lien on the home. According to the contractor, the Sons owe over $55,000.

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Fast forward two years and one month. The contractor, still seeking payment, was about to foreclose its lien on the Fargo home. Yet in December, just before the mechanics lien foreclosure, the house again catches fire. The second fire caused over $100,000 in damage.

The timing of this fire is somehow both devastatingly unfortunate and suspiciously fortuitous.

On one hand, this family has suffered the loss of its dream home for the second time in 3 years. Both fires occurred at the holidays, no less. On the other hand, the Son family was about to lose that home anyway to foreclosure.

Foul play in the second fire is more than pure speculation, though. Quang Son was actually charged with arson and insurance fraud. On the morning of the second fire, Quang was at work, but checked out just before 11:30 am. He checked back in half an hour later. According to Mr. Son, he sat in his car at the work parking lot during this time. Phone records show, however, that Quang had actually left work and gone near the home. Quant then drove back to work and checked in at noon. According to court documents, Quang Son stated he was aware his home would soon be subject to foreclosure.

The Takeaway

Not that long ago, we posted an article about how hiding won’t make a lien disappear. We can now safely recommend that lighting your home on fire and committing insurance fraud is also not a safe alternative to dealing with mechanics lien foreclosure. Hopefully, that’s not what actually happened here. After all, if lying about taking a drive around the neighborhood is the only evidence of arson, that’s a pretty weak case. But Quang’s statements indicate something more was going on.

The detectives in Fargo have some work to do.

Previously, we have covered other aspects of North Dakota lien law. For a breakdown of the state’s lien and bond laws, check out our North Dakota Lien Law FAQs.

Summary
Arson, Insurance Fraud in Fargo Sparked by Mechanics Lien Foreclosure
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Arson, Insurance Fraud in Fargo Sparked by Mechanics Lien Foreclosure
Description
A mechanics lien foreclosure may have led to arson and insurance fraud in Fargo, North Dakota. This was the home's second fire in 3 years.
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zlien
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