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Operation Rent-To-Burn: $187,000 Arson-for-Profit Crime Ring Taken Down

5/18/2018

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For Immediate Release: Friday, May 18, 2018
Contact: Jon Moore, 850.413.2842, Jon.Moore1@MyFloriadCFO.com  
 
 Operation Rent-To-Burn: $187,000 Arson-for-Profit Crime Ring Taken Down

 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis today announced the recent arrest of Yamina Grafal, Walther Avila Lainez and Gennie Avila Lainez following a joint investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Economic Crimes Bureau Arson Squad and CFO Jimmy Patronis’ Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations. Members of the crime ring allegedly played various roles when conducting an arson-for-profit scheme, fraudulently collecting at least $187,000 in insurance payouts by setting seven residential structures on fire between 2009-2016 in Miami-Dade, Lee and Collier County.
 
“Insurance fraud, especially arson-for-profit schemes, can drive up Floridians’ insurance rates and pose a direct threat to the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods and communities,” said CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. “Protecting Floridians is our top priority and the collaborative efforts exhibited during this investigation by state and local law enforcement is nothing short of remarkable.”
 
The investigation was initiated after authorities received information from Citizens Insurance regarding falsified receipts in support of an insurance claim for a fire loss. This investigation revealed that multiple individuals had conspired to rent residential properties, and after obtaining renter’s insurance, intentionally set the homes on fire for economic gain. The fires were set in such a manner that responding fire departments did not suspect criminal activity.
 
The investigation revealed the following locations were intentionally set on fire:
October 11, 2009 - Residential fire at 2161 41 Street SW, Naples, FL
February 16, 2010 - Residential fire at 3116 NE 7th Place, Cape Coral, FL
June 28, 2012 - Residential fire at 3415 SW 13th Terrace, Miami, FL
October 31, 2014 - Residential fire at 901 NW 50th Street, Miami, FL
December 28, 2014 - Residential fire at 674 Pine Cone Lane, Naples, FL
April 4, 2015 - Residential fire at 5621 NW 10th Avenue, Miami, FL
December 13, 2016 - Planned residential fire at 1850 NW 112th Terrace, Miami, FL
 
The following individuals have been arrested:
Gennie Avila Lainez
– arrested 05-17-2018: Racketeering/Rico, Racketeer/Conspire To, Insurance Claims/False, Arson 1st Degree
Walther Avila Lainez – arrested 05-17-2018: Racketeering/Rico, Racketeer/Conspire To, (3) Insurance Claims/False, Arson 1st Degree, Grand Theft 1st Degree, Grand Theft 2nd Degree.
Yamina Grafal – arrested 05-18-2018: Racketeering/Rico, Racketeer/ Conspire To, (2) Insurance Claims/False/Fraudulent
Vicente Olana – arrested 07-08-2016: Grand Theft 1st Degree, (2) Insurance Claims/False, Arson 1st Degree, Grand Theft 2nd Degree
Kenia Martinez-Rosales – arrested 12-15-2016: Insurance Claims/False/Fraudulent
Luis Rosales – arrested 09-30-2015: Grand Theft
 
Walther Avila Lainez was taken into custody May 17, 2018 in Tennessee by ATF agents and the Hamilton County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office. He is in custody pending extradition to Florida.
 
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services that conducts statewide fire, arson and explosives investigations. The Bureau encourages Floridians who believe they may have information surrounding these fires to contact the Arson Tip Hotline by calling 1-877-662-7766. Callers can choose to remain anonymous and any information that leads to a prosecution may be eligible for a cash reward.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).