Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 17, 2014

Man faces arson and insurance fraud charges

TRAVERSE CITY — An Antrim County man faces felony charges of conspiracy to commit arson and insurance fraud after investigators received information that an April 2013 house fire may have been intentionally set.

Jay Fredrick Emerizy’s Bellaire home burned April 20, 2013. Michigan State Police from the Gaylord Post said the fire started in the kitchen area, but they made no determination on what caused the blaze.

Emerizy, 47, was arrested April 10 after investigators learned he and his stepdaughter, 23, who also lived in the home, discussed burning the house as a way to help their financial situation, according to a probable cause complaint.

MSP Sgt. David Hart would not say whether the woman is under investigation.

Emerizy discovered a faulty coffee maker in the home in early 2013 after it caught fire in the kitchen but did not damage the home, authorities said. He stored the coffee maker in the garage.

“At some point, it was determined that (the stepdaughter) would plug in the defective coffee maker and turn it on,” court documents state.

Emerizy was out of state on the day of the fire and his stepdaughter stayed home to work. She plugged in the coffee maker and left it on the counter, but it is not clear if it had been turned on, according to court documents. The home caught fire that night.

The Emerizys filed an insurance claim, and the insurance company covered the home and contents as destroyed by fire, according to court documents.

Antrim County Prosecutor James Rossiter declined to comment on case details.

Hart would not say how the two living in the home are related, but Antrim County Sheriff Daniel Bean said the woman is the same woman identified as Emerizy’s stepdaughter in an earlier case.

Antrim County sheriff’s deputies arrested Emerizy for possession of child sexually abusive materials in September 2013, five months after his home burned.

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