Federal Air Traffic Controller Convicted of Arson-for-Profit

For Immediate Release
June 19th, 2001

Contact: Deputy DA Dan Wagner (714) 347-8608; pager (714) 806-0058

Federal Air Traffic Controller Convicted of Arson-for-Profit

Fullerton — A FAA air traffic controller was convicted today by a Fullerton jury of arson and three other felony counts.  Corey Baird, 38, of Anaheim, and his live-girlfriend, Konnie Gagliardi, 39, of Anaheim were each convicted of residential arson, conspiracy to commit grand theft and insurance fraud in connection with an April 5, 1999, fire to their home on W. Vallejo Drive Anaheim.

Evidence at trial showed that the defendants were the last ones in the house and they left with their dog only 10 minutes before neighbors reported the fire.  During their thorough investigation, the Anaheim Fire Department arson team found that two separate fires had been set within the house and were able to rule out any accidental causes.  Additionally, investigators noticed a conspicuous absence of family photographs and women’s clothing within the house at the time of the fire.

Baird submitted a claim to his insurance company the next day.  He eventually claimed $100,000 in damage to the building and $60,000 damage in personal property.  Evidence introduced at trial revealed that the family was in debt and under financial pressure from numerous creditors.  Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner argued that the defendants set the fire intentionally in order to defraud their insurance company.  The defendants maintained that they did not know how the fire started.

The jury deliberated two days before returning guilty verdicts on all counts against both defendants.  The defendants remain free on bail pending sentencing on January 5, 2001, before Superior Court Judge Richard Stanford.  Each faces a maximum of eight years in state prison.

Baird has worked for the Federal Aviation Administration for ten years.  He is assigned as an air traffic controller at Long Beach Airport, but is currently on administrative leave.