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Arrest Made in Connection with August Home Fire

12/31/2003

CONTACT: Justin Glover
(850) 413-2842

CANTONMENT—State Fire Marshal and insurance fraud investigators with the Department of Financial Services have arrested a local homeowner for allegedly burning her home to collect insurance proceeds.

Investigators say Gari Ann Lowery-Helton, 37, formerly of 604 Coulter Ave. in Cantonment, committed arson, setting fire to her home at the above address, on August 23, 2003 and subsequently filed an insurance claim, resulting in partial payment. Lowery-Helton stood to receive more than $90,000. Lowery-Helton was arrested today and booked into the Escambia County Jail, with bond set at $15,000. If convicted, she could face up to 5 years in prison and could be ordered to pay restitution and up $5,000 in fines.

The department's Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigations of fires of suspicious origin. To report a suspicious fire, call 1-800-NOARSON. The department's Division of Insurance Fraud investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to a conviction.