Florida Man Burned Down Own Homes, Faked Hate Crime

Florida man George Carneiro, of Clay County, was arrested and is facing multiple charges after he allegedly staged a pair of house fires and claimed they were racially motivated attacks when he fell behind on his home payments.

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On March 13, 2023, two homes on Sharon Lane and Conifer Circle were set ablaze, leading to substantial property damage.

The investigation led to Carneiro following the discovery of a video from March 12, 2023, which captured one of Carneiro’s employees purchasing fuel tanks with cash at a Walmart.

Clay County Arson

The incidents were initially investigated as hate crimes after deputies found signs with swastikas emblazoned with the words “Latinos are not welcome” at the scene, WTLV reported.

Officials now believe that Carneiro staged the fires after bank records indicated he was significantly behind on payments for both properties, the sheriff’s office’s statement read.

The investigation found video evidence of one of Carneiro’s employees purchasing fuel tanks with cash at Walmart the day before the fires.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Carneiro’s phone records, enabling them to geographically track the location of his iPhone during the times when the fires occurred.

Carneiro is charged with burning to defraud the insurer and false and fraudulent insurance claims related to arson.

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“I want to thank the patrol deputies who originally responded to these calls and the detectives who worked tirelessly to solve these crimes. Without their efforts, we would not have been able to make this arrest,” Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook stated.

“I have zero tolerance for anyone who comes into our community and uses hate as a cover for their own schemes. We are fortunate that incidents like this are extremely rare in Clay County, and I appreciate the community members who came forward with information on the case.

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