A large fire that last week was ruled arson by state and local officials. The house was owned by Gary Anusavice, a former East Greenwich resident who is facing federal Medicaid fraud charges.
Police and fire personnel from North Kingstown found 229 Potter Road fully engulfed in flames around 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 23, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Nine other communities aided North Kingstown firefighters as they battled the blaze, including East Greenwich. According to NK Fire Chief Fenwick Gardiner Jr., the fire was one of the biggest that NK has battled in five years.
The home, commonly known as "Villa Maria," was vacant and the only person injured was a NK firefighter who had a minor heart attack at the scene.
The State Fire Marshal's Office is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who has information about the fire, which investigators determined was set intentionally. Those with information are urged to call the State Fire Marshal at 401-462-4242. Callers can remain anonymous.
The home's most recent owner was Gary Anusavice, who is currently awaiting trial on charges of Medicaid fraud. Federal agents arrested Anusavice at the home back in May of this year in connection with a $20 million Medicaid fraud case in Connecticut. During the arrest, North Kingstown police officers and federal agents allegedly found marijuana throughout Anusavice's residence.
Before Anusavice, the home was owned by Antonio Giordano – who served more than two years in prison for embezzling money from nursing homes.
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