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Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Applauds Conviction of Jacksonville Man in Apartment Complex Fire

9/24/2012

Contact: Anna Alexopoulos 
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today applauded the conviction of Christopher Koepke, 31, of Jacksonville, for arson and insurance fraud after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting multiple fires at the Columns Apartments. The arrest was the result of an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud and Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Arson puts our citizens’ lives at risk, and insurance fraud costs us all through higher premiums and the impact to our state’s economy,” CFO Atwater said. “I commend everyone involved in this investigation for their quick and thorough work resulting in this successful prosecution.”

On Sept. 15, 2011, Koepke set fires that involved five vehicles and a 12 unit apartment building. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded to the fires. An investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set. Just one day prior to the fire, Koepke obtained a renter’s insurance policy and requested coverage for contents that was above the standard amount of $50,000. He later filed an insurance claim for the damage.

This case is part of a continuing crackdown by CFO Atwater’s Division of Insurance Fraud and State Fire Marshal partnering with federal agencies in the fight against arson and insurance fraud in Florida.

Anyone with information about this or any other incident of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous and may be rewarded up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. To report arson, call 1-877-No-Arson (1-877-662-7766) or visit http://www.facap.org/ReportArson.cfm.  A reward of up to $5,000 may be paid by the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention for a tip that leads directly to an arrest and conviction.
 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal 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.