Madison, Wis. – John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Thomas L. Matje, 46, of Deforest, Wisconsin pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Madison to arson for the December 27, 2011 fire that destroyed Fat Boys Pizza in Lodi, Wisconsin.
During the plea, Matje told U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that he used lighter fluid to cause a fire that spread from an electrical outlet in the kitchen of the restaurant. Matje explained that the pizza business he operated was unsuccessful and he wanted to try and "get rid of it" through the arson. Judge Crabb scheduled sentencing for October 9, 2012. Matje faces a minimum mandatory term of 5-years in prison to a maximum twenty years, a $250,000 fine, and restitution for losses caused by the fire.
The charges against were the result of an investigation conducted by the Lodi Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, State Fire Marshal, and the United States ATF. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.