ROCKFORD — A Rockford man was arrested Thursday on a federal arson charge for allegedly setting fire to a local retail business.
Sean Cardenas, 20, was indicted on Jan. 12, 2021, by a federal grand jury in Rockford on one count of maliciously damaging and destroying, and attempting to damage and destroy, by means of fire, a building at 6260 E. State St. in Rockford. The alleged arson occurred on May 30, 2020.
Cardenas pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger. Cardenas was ordered to remain in federal custody until a detention hearing on January 19, 2021, at 11:30 a.m.
The indictment and arrest were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kristen deTineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. The Rockford Police Department and Rockford Fire Department assisted in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica S. Maveus.
The arson charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years, in addition to a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.