Baytown Man Given A 10-Year Sentence

Andrew Tilghman, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 22

A Baytown man who staged an apparent hate crime at his home in 1999 was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for insurance fraud.

During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, James Green, 46, offered no explanation for why he spray-painted anti-black slurs on the wall of his home while faking a burglary to claim insurance payments.

“Why wouldn’t you just leave the race thing out of it? Why would you make it worse?” asked Harris County Assistant District Attorney Steve Baldassano.

“I don’t know, sir,” said Green, who is black.

Authorities say Green staged a burglary at his home at 7515 Seminole in Baytown in April 1999. He also covered some of the home’s interior walls with racial slurs, including an image of a stick figure attached to the back of a car with a rope around its neck, investigators said.

In September 2001, Green burned down his home and made a second insurance claim, Baldassano said.

He pleaded guilty in July to insurance fraud. Green received more than $230,000 from the State Farm Insurance company, Baldassano said. Investigators said he stowed his personal property in a rental storage unit before staging the burglary and fire.

Green, a married father of three, also was accused of burning down the Klein home of a business partner in 2002 as part of another insurance fraud scheme.

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