A former administrator and chief of Halfway County Fire Department was ordered to serve one year of jail time due to misappropriation of the department's funds.
The former official had made two tuition payments for a family member taking classes in the nursing department at a local community college. He had paid for conference attendance and incurred other expenses according to court documents. The charges were on a personal credit card, then were reimbursed with department funds that exceeded the total charges.
The investigation was a joint effort of the Maryland State Police and the county Gaming Commission.
The prosecutor said that as the fire company's administrator, the defendant was a decorated firefighter. His colleagues at the fire department were at the court to show support for their former chief.
The 54-year-old was charged with one count of theft of less than 500 and one count of theft scheme of less than 500, both demanding 18 months of incarceration; however, the judge suspended each sentence to be served concurrently for one year.
She indicated the leniency of the jail time was due to the majority of the department funding emanating from public support. The former official had no prior criminal record but allegedly had begun to form a pattern with mishandling of funds.
The former administrator admitted his mistake in court and asked for forgiveness prior to being sentenced.
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Source: Herald Mail Media, "Former chief of Halfway fire co. sentenced to a year for misuse of funds" Dan Dearth, Jul. 25, 2014