Ex-Chief in Ky. Indicted for Embezzling

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A federal grand jury in Louisville indicted the former McMahan fire chief on embezzling and laundering charges. Paul Barth, 53, was indicted for one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and 16...


LOUISVILLE, Ky. --

A federal grand jury in Louisville indicted the former McMahan fire chief on embezzling and laundering charges.

Paul Barth, 53, was indicted for one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and 16 counts of money laundering.

United States Attorney Candace G. Hill announced the indictment on Monday.

"The investigation revealed a clear-cut embezzlement and misappropriation of funds," said Paul Johnson, with the U.S. Secret Service, which led the investigation into Barth.

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleged that from 2001 until 2009, Barth "devised a scheme or artifice to defraud the public, the MFPD (McMahan Fire Protection District) and the Crusade for Children.

The indictment alleged that Barth's main vehicle for doing so was a bank account he opened in 1998 under the name, "Crusade for Children c/o McMahan Fire District." The U.S. Attorney's Office, in its announcement, stated, "Barth falsely represented to the public that donations made to MFPD would be contributed to the Crusade."

Instead, Johnson said the money went elsewhere.

"Money was moved over to pay for expenses out of the Fire Department, out of the McMahan Fire Department account. Out of that money, unauthorized credit card charges were also used," Johnson said.

The indictment alleged that Barth deposited nearly $219,000 into the account he set up -- money that was intended as Crusade for Children donations. Of that sum, the indictment claims, Barth withdrew more than $100,000 in cash. Another $51,000 was allegedly transferred to the Fire District's general fund. And more than $25,000 was allegedly used to pay off Barth's department credit card.

"There was about $25,000 -- give or take -- that was used to pay off expenses, personal expenses that were unauthorized on his Fire Department credit card," Johnson said.

The indictment also alleged that Barth caused the Fire District to overpay him. The announcement stated, "Barth caused the MFPD to issue him 13 additional paychecks totaling $40,638.39."

Johnson said the evidence speaks for itself.

"Through the money trail, through the paper trail, it was very evident from the investigation that wrongdoing had occurred," Johnson said.

The indictment alleged Barth embezzled and laundered approximately $218,000 from the Crusade for Children and approximately $97,000 from the McMahan Fire Protection District.

If convicted on all counts, Barth faces up to 150 years in prison, a $4 million fine and a period of supervised release of three years.

Barth is expected to voluntarily appear on the arrest warrant before the United States magistrate judge, at a time to be determined.

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