Arsonist with “Chutzpah” Tries to Get Out of Jail Because of Covid-19


Go Directly to Jail & Stay for the Full 60 Months

After being convicted of arson and sentenced to sixty months in federal prison asked for compassionate release even though he was in good health claiming fear of Covid 19. In United States Of America v. D-1 Ehab Sitto, Case No. 17-20838, United States District Court Eastern District Of Michigan Southern Division (July 7, 2021) the USDC looked at the evidence presented and determined that the request was not for compassion but was a pleading that defined the Yiddish word “chutzpah” or unmitigated gall.

Ehab Sitto is serving a 60-month sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of Malicious Use of Fire, 18 USC 844(i) based on his hiring of person experiencing homelessness to commit arson for the purpose of insurance fraud. The Court sentenced Defendant on May 23, 2019 and a Judgment was entered June 7, 2019. Defendant moved for compassionate release.


Defendant has not asserted any medical conditions that are CDC risk factors, but instead offers family history, and current coronavirus infections by family members as well as a generalized concern regarding the possibility that he will contract the coronavirus at Federal Correction Institution Morgantown (“FCI Morgantown” or “Morgantown”).


A defendant may move for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) only after “fully exhaust[ing] all administrative rights to appeal a failure of the Bureau of Prisons to bring a motion on the defendant’s behalf” or “the lapse of 30 days from the receipt of such a request by the warden of the defendant’s facility, whichever is earlier.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A).

Under the statute, a court may reduce a defendant’s term of imprisonment:

  • if it finds that extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction;
  • if it finds that a reduction is consistent with applicable statements issued by the Sentencing Commission; and
  • after considering the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a) to the extent they are applicable.

The defendant bears the burden of proving that “extraordinary and compelling reasons” exist to justify release under the statute.

The Government did not dispute that Defendant has now properly exhausted all administrative remedies. The Government disputed, however, whether Defendant’s health and family circumstances constitutes an extraordinary circumstance warranting his release.

Defendant admitted that he is not suffering from any serious illnesses but instead, asserts that having A+ blood type, a familial background of heart disease, and the type of care available at Morgantown makes him more susceptible to a coronavirus infection. At the time of his presentence interview in 2019, Defendant informed the Probation Department that he was good health, had no chronic illnesses, and was not taking any prescribed medication. Since July 23, 2019, Defendant has not been prescribed any medicine nor required significant medical treatment for any illness, including heart related illnesses.

None of the Defendant’s concerns are on the CDC list of underlying medical conditions for which people are at increased risk for severe illness from the coronavirus. Additionally, Defendant points to the Bureau of Prisons website as proof that Morgantown is not taking the proper coronavirus precautions because the number of cases increased from 74 to 121 over three days in December. As of January 2021, the cases at Morgantown have significantly decreased. Out of 442 inmates, Morgantown has eight active cases, two inmates and six officers.

Defendant has not shown that he is at a heightened risk of severe complications should he contract COVID-19 or that the prison medical staff is incapable of treating his conditions.


For the reasons stated above, the Court concluded that Defendant has not established any extraordinary and compelling reasons for a reduction in his 60-month sentence. Defendant’s Motion for Compassionate Release was denied.


There is no type of insurance fraud that is more evil than arson-for-profit. Firefighters are injured and die putting out such fires, neighbors are injured or die by the spread of intentionally set and accelerated fires. For a man in good health to claim compassionate release because of fear of contracting Covid-19 is an amazing act of unmitigated gall. His act of chutzpah was rejected and he will serve all 60 months of his reservation at the grey bar hotel.

© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at and

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.

Over the last 53 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.

Go to the podcast Zalma On Insurance at;  Follow Mr. Zalma on Twitter at; Go to Barry Zalma videos at at; Go to Barry Zalma on YouTube-; Go to the Insurance Claims Library – Read posts from Barry Zalma at; and the last two issues of ZIFL at  podcast now available at


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