Sheriff’s office arrests woman for alleged insurance fraud after Axtell house fire

Associated Press

A McLennan County woman was arrested for insurance fraud this week as part of a larger investigation into a suspicious November home fire.

Melissa Carol Adler was arrested on charges of insurance fraud and securing executive documents deceitfully after falsely reporting items damaged in a fire at her home on the 1100 block of Retreat Center Road near Axtell, sheriff’s deputies allege.

Sheriff’s Capt. M.R. “Bubba” Collier said Adler allegedly claimed $51,000 worth of items had been damaged at the home. But investigators said the fire debris did not contain evidence some of the items Adler reported as damaged, suggesting those things were not in the home at the time of the fire, Collier said.

Adler remained in the McLennan County Jail Friday after a judge declined to set bonds on two of her charges.

The sheriff’s office also arrested Michael Louden, 37, on a charge of criminal conspiracy to commit insurance fraud for his alleged role in the incident. Louden was released from the jail Thursday after posting a $3,000 bond.

The sheriff’s office began investigating the case in November after fire officials reported the cause of the fire was suspicious, Collier said. Firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished the initial blaze, but the flames later reignited, consuming the house.

Collier said the fire investigation is ongoing and no charges of arson have been filed in the case.