Many leftist politicians and mainstream media outlets are quick to report on alleged hate crimes against certain segments of the population despite the fact that many of these cases ultimately turn out to be hoaxes or in no way connected to prejudice against a particular demographic.
One such example involves a pair of residential fires in Clay County, Florida, that was initially portrayed as an act of bias against the home’s Latino owner.
The incident occurred on March 13 and resulted in the destruction of two newly constructed homes in the same Clay Hill community.
Shortly thereafter, local law enforcement — and in turn, local news outlets — seized on a piece of evidence left behind at the scene of the arson.
Florida man staged hate crimes after falling behind on bills, police say:deputies found signs with swastikas&emblazoned words “Latinos are not welcome” at scene https://t.co/lmYT7x2hZh
— Fredric U. Dicker (@fud31) May 31, 2023
According to a neighbor, a sign left in front of one home stated: “This is our land. Latinos are not welcome.”
Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook highlighted this aspect of the crime in a statement on the same day as the fires.
“The message left behind indicated a potential bias-based motive,” she wrote in a social media post, confirming that the incident was being investigated as a hate crime.
After considering the rest of the evidence, however, investigators now say that the owner of the homes, George Carneiro, set them ablaze in order to commit insurance fraud after he became swamped by debt. He is now facing criminal charges of burning to defraud the insurer and false and fraudulent insurance claims related to arson.
Detectives acted on a warrant that allowed them to “geographically track” Carneiro’s movements leading up to the fires and determined that he was responsible.
“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,” the sheriff’s department stated.
The agency noted that this evidence “was key in establishing a connection between Carneiro and the arson,” adding: “The fires were originally staged with false evidence of a hate crime to conceal the true motive.”
A look at his bank records reportedly informed authorities that “He was significantly behind on his payments” at the time of the fires.