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Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Jacksonville Man Charged with Arson and Insurance Fraud

3/7/2012

Contact: Alexis Lambert or Deborah Cox 
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Christopher Koepke, of Jacksonville, after a joint investigation involving the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI), Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department (JFRD), the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office (JSO), the Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that Koepke set fire to five vehicles and an apartment building in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.
 
“This man intentionally endangered the lives of others in an attempt for personal gain through insurance fraud,” CFO Atwater said.  “Anyone who attempts any form of arson will be put behind bars. I’m proud of the work done by my office, the Jacksonville fire and law enforcement professionals to bring these individuals to justice.”
 
On Sept. 15, 2011, Jacksonville Fire Rescue responded to a fire at the Columns Apartment Complex on Laurina St. in Jacksonville. The investigation revealed that Koepke intentionally set the fires, hoping to collect insurance money on the damage to the contents of his apartment from the fire. The fires caused more than $200,000 in damage.
 
Koepke was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail on five counts of second-degree arson to a vehicle, one count of first-degree arson to a dwelling and one count of insurance fraud. If convicted, Koepke could face up to 135 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.
 
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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, 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.