Compass Restaurant owner charged with burning down business for insurance

The owner of the former Compass Restaurant, which was consumed in a fire back in July, has been charged with intentionally setting the blaze to collect insurance money.

Ronald Clifton Cantey, 57, of Lake City, was charged by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office with one count each of second-degree arson, making a false insurance claim, and burning personal property to defraud an insurer.

Investigators say Cantey intentionally torched the restaurant on Myrtle Beach Highway on July 26, 2016, and that a joint investigation by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the local sheriff’s office determined Cantey was at the scene within minutes of a call to 911.

Subsequently, on or about September 14, 2016, and October 3, 2016, Cantey collected about $700,000 in fraudulent insurance claims.

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis praised the efforts of both state and local investigators, noting officers from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the case.  “This is a prime example of local and state authorities working together to bring this case to a close,” Dennis said. “This was nothing short of excellent investigative work by both agencies.”

Cantey was arrested without incident and transported to the Sumter-Lee Regional Dentention Center, where he awaits a bond hearing.

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