Department Victimized by Embezzlement Gets New Federal Grant

LAZY ACRES, Ark. (AP) -- A volunteer fire department victimized by embezzlement of more than $65,000 -- including about $36,000 in federal funds -- has been awarded a federal grant of $50,000 to buy a new 1,000-gallon pumper truck.

''We had applied for the grant about a year ago before the allegations came out that our treasurer had stolen more than $65,000 of the fire department's money,'' said Jim Opel, president of the Lazy Acres Volunteer Fire Department.

The department was notified last week that it would get the new grant from the federal Homeland Security Department, Opel said.

Angella Ann Dickerson, 48, former treasurer of the department in this northern Marion County community, was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with theft, obtaining a signature by fraud, issuing a false financial statement and falsifying business records.

Authorities allege Dickerson altered computer records to hide deficient bank accounts. Marion County Sheriff Carl McBee said she had also written at least 16 checks totaling more than $38,000 from the fire department bank accounts to the Blue Water Resort, which he said Dickerson owns.

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