A Louisiana fire chief has admitted to falsifying documents to obtain Fire Act grants for local departments so they could purchase equipment from his company.
Jackson Parish Ward Four Fire Chief Curtis Roller pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud after illegally obtaining the FEMA grants. He also made bogus statements on workers compensation forms, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisiana said in a statement.
Evidence showed Roller submitted false information on grant applications he sent to FEMA so that fire
departments in Louisiana and Arkansas were eligible to receive federal funds, which could be used to
purchase equipment from his company, Louisiana Firefighting Services.
Roller is accused of inflating population data, agency coverage areas and numbers of responded calls on the applications. Also, he overstating the type of calls responded to, under-reporting the size of budgets and
increasing the scope of their needs on the applications
Attorneys noted that it's against FEMA rules and policies for a grant writer to financially benefit from money awarded.
Roller faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine
and restitution for each count of wire fraud. Sentencing was set for Sept. 18