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Oakland hotel arson scam, Richard Singer is released from prison
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Tuesday May 28th, 2013 8:20 PM
Convicted and sent to prison for hiring an arsonist to burn down the occupied low-income Hotel Menlo in Oakland, wealthy slum-lord hotel owner Richard Earl Singer is back on the streets doing business, after being released from prison!

Oakland hotel arson scam, Richard Singer is released from prison

By Lynda Carson - May 28, 2013

Oakland - Richard Earl Singer, the former owner of Oakland's Hotel Menlo (Menlo Hotel), Ridge Hotel, and the Hotel Des Arts in San Francisco has been released from prison after doing time for being convicted of hiring an arsonist to burn down the low-income Hotel Menlo, while it was still occupied with tenants. Singer may still be the current owner of the Olympic Hotel in San Francisco.

On August 31, 2011, Richard Singer, a wealthy slum-lord hotel property owner from Tiburon was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay a $60,000 fine for soliciting a crime of violence—namely arson, according to United States Attorney Melinda Haag.

During a discussion with Patricia Singer (Richard Singer's wife) on May 28, she said, "Richard Singer is not in at the moment, and I would prefer not to discuss his release from prison. And Richard would not like to discuss his release from prison either, and neither of us have anything to say about his release from prison."

Public records also reveal that Singer's actual or projected release date from prison is scheduled for May 31, 2013, after serving time in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Dublin, California, and the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon. Additionally, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken also sentenced Singer to a three-year period of supervised release (probation), after his release from prison for the crime of hiring an arsonist to burn down the occupied low-income hotel.

According to sources, Singer has sold both the Hotel Menlo and Ridge Hotel in Oakland, after his conviction of hiring an arsonist for an arson scam that was meant to enrich himself. Singer planned on collecting a large amount of insurance money by burning down the Hotel Menlo on or around January 15, 2011, but his scheme to burn down the occupied low-income hotel failed after "2 different" sources informed on him, and contacted the FBI about his plan to burn down the hotel for insurance money.

For his involvement in the arson scheme for money, Singer was arrested on or around January 17, 2011, and was released from custody on January 20, 2011, after surrendering his passport, and posting a $700,000 secured bond. Additionally, Singer's wife Patricia Singer, and his mother Gloria Singer posted a $500,000 unsecured bond as co-signers, to further assist in bailing him out of jail.

It was on June 22, 2011, that Singer pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation to commit arson after getting caught providing a check in the amount of $1,500 for the materials necessary to set the low-income residential Hotel Menlo on fire, a residential hotel he owned at 344 13th Street in Oakland. At the time, the seven story building was still partially occupied with some hotel residents, including a nail salon business located on the first floor of the building. Singer also admitted that he had agreed to pay a total of $65,000 to the arsonist (a federal informant) after the hotel was successfully burned down.

In a chilling discussion of the arson scheme for money, it was during December 28, 2010, that Singer met with a federal informant, and in a recorded conversation Singer was asked if he still wanted to get rid of one of his hotels in Oakland, and Singer said "yeah," according to a federal affidavit. The two of them continued talking and the informant told Singer how someone in New York was found that is a professional, and eventually they settled upon the Menlo Hotel as being the better target of arson. A hotel that was still partially occupied in crowded downtown Oakland.

On May 28, during a discussion with Ramiro Caceres, a front desk manager of the Hotel Des Arts in San Francisco, he said, "I have worked at the Hotel Des Arts for around the past 2 years, and it is my understanding that Richard Singer is no longer affiliated with the hotel any longer. I can only say that he has sold the property around five months ago to some new owners that prefer to remain anonymous at the moment."

Richard Singer and Ryan Nathan of RMD Services has additionally faced a class action lawsuit from over 50 residents of the Ridge Hotel, and has faced lawsuits from many residents at the Hotel Menlo, that have sued them for operating both hotels in slum-like conditions.

Before going to prison, Singer hired the law office of Arguedas, Cassman and Headly, LLP, in Berkeley, and Oakland attorney Paul Delano Wolf to represent himself against the solicitation of arson charge, a felony punishable by 10 years in prison.

Lynda Carson may be reached at; tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com