Report: Money Troubles Found in Ramona Arson Case

1 man killed in blast

New details are emerging on the bizarre case of a Ramona mansion that exploded, killing a man.  A published report says the owner owed more than $50,000 in combined taxes along with other financial obligations.

The blast took place on Oct. 31 around 1:30 a.m. at the home near the fifth hole of Mount Woodson Golf Club in Ramona.  The blast killed Ramona resident Joseph Nesheiwat, 24.  He was an employee of the home's owner, James A. Kurtenbach, for seven years, relatives said.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Kurtenbach, 47, was found to have committed fraud two years ago in Nebraska for using fake tax returns to sell a gas station he owned.  The report also said he owes $16,600 in back taxes on his Ramona home and $40,000 on a gas station he owns.  In addition, Kurtenbach has a 6,500-square-foot home in Poway, which was purchased for $2.5 million, and pays $10,000 a month in alimony and child support to his former wife with money from the Ramona gas station, the report said.

While no charges have been filed in the case, authorities have ruled the explosion arson.  Lt. Dennis Brugos of the sheriff's department said they do not believe Nesheiwat was involved "involuntarily."

Nesheiwat's family also has questions about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.  They said about an hour and a half before the explosion, someone stopped by and picked him up.

"Progress is being made in the case," he said.

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