A Richboro man who spent eight years on the run after plotting to set fire to his failing tanning salon has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II on Wednesday sentenced Jason Gusoff, 45, to that term, followed by three years of supervised release. Gusoff must also pay back the $105,486 he bilked from Zurich North America Insurance Co.
Gusoff pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit arson for a 2008 fire that destroyed California Tanning, a business in Mayfair he purchased a year earlier, according to federal prosecutors.
“If you are charged with a federal crime in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, you will not be able to evade justice by fleeing to another country,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement. “We will find you and hold you accountable for your actions. In this case, the defendant was captured, convicted, and will spend five years behind bars.”
Gusoff’s attorney, Thomas F. Burke, said that the plea deal was negotiated with federal authorities and that his client was satisfied with the outcome.
“The judge and the prosecutor treated my client very fairly,” Burke said. “It could’ve gone a lot worse, could’ve been much harsher. This was a great resolution all around.”
Gusoff bought the former JW Tanning in 2007, and insured it for $260,000 against fire damage, according to the federal indictment.
Over the following months, as the business faltered, Gusoff plotted with Joseph Braubitz to destroy the business and collect the money, the indictment said. On July 30, 2008, Braubitz intentionally set the fire, seriously burning himself in the process. The insurance company then sent Gusoff more than $105,000 for the claim he had filed.
Three years later, after investigating the fire at the request of local authorities, who initially deemed it suspicious, federal prosecutors convened a grand jury, which later indicted both men.
Weeks before his 2011 trial, Gusoff fled the country using his brother’s passport and hid until 2019, when U.S. Marshals arrested him in Cambodia, court records show.