Former Pa. Dept. Treasurer Charged With Stealing

March 25, 2013
Saying he needed money to pay rent for his children, the former treasurer of the Franklin Hose Company No. 2 was charged with theft of nearly $5,000 from the department.

March 23--KINGSTON -- The former treasurer of Franklin Hose Company No. 2 in Edwardsville was charged Friday with stealing nearly $5,000 from the fire department -- money he claimed he needed to pay the rent for his children.

Daniel Boyd West, 40, of 137 W. Main St., Nanticoke, is charged with a felony count of theft for allegedly writing himself checks between January 2009 and October 2012.

The charges allege West wrote the checks over the nearly four-year period and lied to department members about the account balance at monthly meetings.

"It's just a sad situation where he put his hand in the cookie jar. It got attractive, I guess, and easy to do," Edwardsville Fire Chief Ray King said. "He was just taking a little bit at a time and finally the cookie jar was empty. We wrote a check and it bounced."

According to a police affidavit filed in court, fire officials learned about the thefts in October, when First Liberty Bank informed the department its checking account was overdrawn.

After conducting an internal audit, officials found out about 50 unauthorized checks totaling $4,984 had been written out to and cashed by West, who as treasurer was in charge of issuing payroll checks to firefighters for their time spent on fire calls.

"When you trust somebody in the fire department as a treasurer of your funds, you want to be able to trust that person," said Edwardsville police Sgt. Hal Bond, who investigated the case along with county detectives. "It's a violation of that trust, absolutely."

While department policy calls for two members to sign each check before it is issued, several checks West cashed were signed only by him, according to the affidavit.

King said West was suspended after the thefts were discovered and will likely be fired as a firefighter now that charges have been filed.

West declined to comment Friday, when he appeared at Magisterial District Judge Paul Roberts Jr.'s courtroom for an arraignment. He told investigators, however, that he needed the money for rent because he and his children were going to be evicted from their apartment, according to the affidavit.

King said he was shocked that West, a reliable, active member of the department for nearly a decade, had targeted the fire company.

"You'd just never think it of him -- that this would happen," King said. "I know he had a lot of family issues going on. That's no way to solve them, but I guess that's the way he chose."

West told the judge he was recently divorced and that his only other arrest was drunken-driving arrest from about 20 years ago. He holds a full-time job at Lowes Distribution Center at CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park, he said.

Roberts released West on $7,500 unsecured bail and set a preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. April 11.

[email protected], 570-821-2058

Copyright 2013 - The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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