A few months back a couple reported a fire at their cabin off of Empire Church Road in Groveland, FL. Soon after the fire was extinguished, the fire marshal was called out because there was suspicion about the cause of the blaze. Now, husband and wife are charged with both causing the fire and then trying to defraud the insurance company.
According to this article from the Orlando Sentinel, Detective Arnie Amoros with the state fire marshal says that arsons often increase during times of economic hardship. He compares them to a criminal, personal “bail out.” Unfortunately for Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Britton, they won’t be reaping any rewards from this bail out.
Apparently they tried filing an insurance claim that included things not lost in the fire. The fire marshal had taken photos of those things that survived the fire and, sure enough, the Britton’s filed them in their insurance claim. The total claim was for $280,000.
The couple is currently being held on $22,000 bonds each and could face 30 years if found guilty and sentenced to the maximum.
Arson is by far the most serious property crime. It carries some of the most severe penalties simply because of the risk that it creates. There are other serious property crimes that are far more common than arson, however.
Criminal mischief may be one of the most common property crimes charges in Florida. It involves willfully and maliciously damaging the property of another. The penalty you face for this particular charge depends on the value of the damage and can go up to 15 years in prison and fines reaching $30,000.
Second degree misdemeanor criminal mischief occurs when the damage done is less than $250. This could be keying someone’s car or breaking a window out. This misdemeanor charge can lead to up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines.
Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor property crime charges, it can be a frightening experience. Although you may not be facing something as serious as arson, your future could be changed because of any criminal charges.
When facing criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney is a crucial asset. Call me today so we can discuss the details of your case and the directions we could take.