Treasurer Of Arkansas Fire Department Facing Embezzment Charges

YELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- The treasurer of the Lazy Acres Volunteer Fire Department in Marion County was arrested Friday, accused of embezzling more than $65,000 including federal grant funds from the department.

Angella Ann Dickerson, 48, of the Lazy Acres community in northern Marion County, is charged with felony counts of theft of property and obtaining a signature by fraud plus misdemeanor counts of issuing a false financial statement and falsifying business records, according to Sheriff Carl McBee.

McBee said the fire department's president and chief became concerned Jan. 20 when notices of unpaid bills turned up, after checks had been written to pay the bills. Officials of the department contacted the bank and discovered most of the department's balances were short or almost totally depleted.

Investigators from the sheriff's office and state police determined that Dickerson was responsible for the day-to-day receiving of money, making deposits, writing checks, general bookkeeping and briefing the membership at monthly meetings about the status of the accounts. She had served as the department's treasurer since 2001.

According to McBee, investigators found that 16 checks totaling more than $38,000 had been written on department accounts to the Blue Water Resort, which Dickerson owns. The remaining money, more than $27,000, was diverted to personal use, the release said.

More than $36,000 of the missing funds was federal grant money from the Department of Homeland Security.

Dickerson was booked into the Marion County Jail and is scheduled to appear in Marion County Circuit Court on Feb. 23 to answer the charges.