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Florida Man Arrested for Setting Car on Fire to Collect Insurance Payout


Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413–2842
ORLANDO, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the recent arrest of Orange County resident Michael Abrams on charges of arson, insurance fraud and grand theft after he was accused of devising a plan to have his 2016 Toyota Camry stolen and destroyed so that he could collect an insurance payout.
“More often than not, acts of arson are committed in order to collect insurance payouts or to cover up a larger crime,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “To concoct the plan that he did is an elaborate act of fraud—one that undoubtedly drives up the cost of insurance for every Floridian. I’m proud of our investigative team for getting to the truth and putting this man behind bars where he belongs.”
In early December 2016, Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFR) responded to a fire scene involving a vehicle that had reportedly been stolen in the state of New York. When OCFR requested the assistance of the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the cause and origin of the fire, investigators began to unravel Abrams’ story.
During interviews with investigators, Abrams admitted to paying an unknown male $300 to take and destroy his car. After reporting it stolen, Abrams filed an insurance claim totaling $10,000. The plan to destroy the car by setting it on fire; however, was interrupted when the fire department was called to the scene of the crime.
Upon confessing to an active role in the burning of his car and the filing of an unlawful insurance claim, Michael Abrams was arrested and charged with several felonies. Abrams was booked into the Orange County Jail, bail was set at $50,000, and he faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. 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.