According to Passaic County prosecutors, the 22-year-old suspect unlawfully took the money while serving as treasurer for the West Milford Community Volunteer Fire Company No. 2. The suspect reportedly served as treasurer from 2013 to November 2015.
Officials learned about the suspect s alleged deception in late 2015. The suspect had access to the West Milford fire company s bank accounts and debit cards because he was in control of company funds.
Prosecutors allege that the suspect stole money from the fire company and then used the funds for his own personal gain.
The suspect, who lives in West Milford, has been charged with third degree theft by deception.
If the suspect is convicted on the charges of theft by deception, he would be subject to severe criminal penalties. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, a person who uses deception to obtain between $500 and $75,000 can be charged with a third degree felony. A conviction for third degree theft by deception carries a potential penalty of 3-5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
After being placed under arrest and processed, the suspect was remanded to the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey. He was being held at the jail in lieu of a $35K bail amount.
While the charges against the suspect are pending, he has been suspended by the West Milford fire department. Additionally, he no longer has access to fire company money.
For further information about this case, see the NJ.com article, “Volunteer Firefighter Accused of Stealing from N.J. Fire Company.”