Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Two Men Charged with Arson and Insurance Fraud
Contact: Alexis Lambert or Deborah Cox
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the arrests of Jeffrey Tyrone Lockley and Byron Bernard Butler, both of Apalachicola, after a joint investigation involving the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI), the Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and the Franklin County Sherriff’s Office (FCSO) determined the two men set fire to a vehicle in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.
“Not only did these men intentionally endanger the lives of others, they also attempted to commit insurance fraud, a crime that costs honest Floridians thousands of dollars a year,” CFO Atwater said. “I’m proud of the work done by my office and Franklin County’s fire and law enforcement professionals to bring these individuals to justice.”
On Nov. 8, 2011, the BFAI and the FCSO responded to a vehicle fire on Pine Log Road in Apalachicola. The investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set.
On Dec. 22, 2011, the FCSO received a tip that two males may have intentionally set the vehicle on fire so that the owner could collect insurance money for the damage. A joint investigation between FCSO and DIF was opened. The investigation led to the arrests of Jeffrey Tyrone Lockley and Byron Bernard Butler. Butler and Lockley were booked at the Gulf County Jail on charges of arson and insurance fraud and if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.
To report arson, call 1-877-No-Arson (1-877-662-7766). A reward of up to $5,000 may be paid for a tip that leads directly to an arrest and conviction.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.