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LITH Man Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Arson

By ROB PHILLIPS, NORTHWEST HERALD - rphillips@nwherald.com

WOODSTOCK - A judge spared a former Lake in the Hills man convicted of arson from a prison sentence Thursday after the Anthony Verive's defense attorney said his client already had lost everything.

McHenry County Presiding Judge Sharon Prather instead sentenced Verive to six months in jail and two years of probation.

Verive, 41, now of South Elgin, was convicted in August on two counts of arson, which prosecutors said he did to escape more than $500,000 debt.

Verive hugged family members after the 30-minute sentencing hearing and just before he was taken into custody.

"The act was committed by Mr. Verive in a period of sheer desperation," Prather said.

Prather, who could have sentenced Verive to up to seven years in prison, also ordered Verive to pay a $3,000 fine.

Verive's attorney, Henry Sugden, asked Prather to sentence his client to only probation. He said Verive had close family ties and had led a law-abiding life.

"Keep in mind he's already lost everything," Sugden said.

Prosecutors said that six weeks before Verive set two fires at his Lake in the Hills house on Nov. 1, 2001, he increased his homeowner's insurance after letting it lapse.

"It was a willful criminal act, and the defendant is here to be held responsible for his act," said McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Tiffany Davis.

She said Verive had not taken responsibly or shown any remorse for his actions, which endangered the lives of Verive, his then-wife, and many firefighters.

"Arson ultimately affects everyone in the community," Davis said. "And this arson affected everyone in McHenry County."

After the fire, Verive and his wife divorced; he shut down his home-remodeling business; and the bank foreclosed on the burned home.

Firefighters were called to a fire at Verive's home earlier in the day. The second fire met with a release of natural gas in the home's first floor and caused an explosion.

Located in Crystal Lake, Illinois, the lawyers at Madsen, Sugden & Gottemoller, Attorneys at Law, represent clients in McHenry County, including the communities of: Crystal Lake, McHenry, Waukegan, Woodstock, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Cary, Elgin, Dundee, Barrington, Harvard, Marengo, and Johnsburg.

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