R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Texas firefighter charged with theft and fraud

An Aransas Pass volunteer firefighter was taken into custody on suspicion of taking funds from his department. Authorities charged him with felony theft and fraud, and the court held him on a $10,000 bail bond. Prior to the theft charges, the accused man apparently told his boss that fire department funds were mistakenly put into his personal account by the bank.

As the fire department treasurer, the accused man had originally been responsible for $21,250. After he moved the money from Prosperity Bank to Bank of America, the Aransas Pass Volunteer Fire Department began to bounce checks. According to reports, $11,850 was found in the man's personal account, and $9,400 was missing altogether. An investigation also found that four checks had been made payable to the accused man.

When the fire department chief contacted the man about the missing funds, the man said that Bank of America had made an error. He said that during the process of switching banks, money had been placed into his account by mistake. However, according to Bank of America, the accused man had opened a bank account with his own name and titled it Aransas Pass Volunteer Fire Department. The account was later closed due to overdrafts.

It's possible that a bank error did lead to the man being suspected of theft and fraud. A forensic accountant may be necessary to examine the evidence in this case. If the money transfer was an honest mistake, the prosecutor may agree to drop the charges completely.

Source: KIII, "Aransas Pass volunteer firefighter arrested for theft, fraud", November 08, 2013

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