Kornhardt’s mail-fraud charge dropped

By EVAN YOUNG

A mail fraud charge has been dropped against a former Mehlville Fire Protection District firefighter recently sentenced to life in prison for murder-for-hire.

U.S. District Judge Charles Shaw on Sept. 23 granted a motion from the government to dismiss the mail-fraud charge against former MFPD firefighter James Kornhardt.

Kornhardt of Dittmer was sentenced that day to life in federal prison on one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and on one count of murder-for-hire. He also was sentenced to 20 years in prison on one count of obstruction of justice.

A jury in June convicted Kornhardt and Oakville resident Steven Mueller of killing St. Louis resident Danny Coleman in 1992. Mueller also was sentenced Sept. 23 to life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire.

Attorneys for the two since have filed notices of appeal with the federal court.

The mail fraud charge against Kornhardt was unrelated to the other three charges in the federal indictment.

A U.S. magistrate judge earlier this year ordered the former firefighter be tried separately for it.

Kornhardt was accused of defrauding State Auto Insurance Companies by collecting more than $29,000 on a false claim of stolen jewelry. He and his spouse enrolled in a State Auto insurance policy covering their “dwelling, private structures, personal property, living expenses and scheduled jewelry,” according to the indictment. The policy, which took effect Feb. 28, 2005, provided $42,300 coverage on the jewelry alone, the indictment stated.

In July 2005, Kornhardt submitted a claim to State Auto contending that a bag of jewelry was stolen from his vehicle the previous month while it was parked outside MFPD Firehouse No. 5 on Mueller Road in Green Park, according to the indictment.

Kornhardt signed a “proof of loss” form in late August 2005 and agreed to accept payment in full from State Auto on his claim, according to the indictment.

He deposited a $29,200 check from the insurance company two weeks later, the indictment stated.

Authorities recovered all but two pieces of the jewelry Kornhardt included in his claim to State Auto from his Dittmer home in May and June 2009, months after Kornhardt was arrested and charged with conspiracy and murder-for-hire, according to the indictment.

“These same items were the subject of James K. Kornhardt’s insurance loss claim submitted to State Auto that James K. Kornhardt verified as having been stolen,” the indictment stated.