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November 17, 2015

Volunteer fire association chief alleged to have taken fire association fuel for his personal use


Volunteer fire association chief alleged to have taken fire association fuel for his personal use
Source: Office of the State Comptroller
Click on text highlighted in color to access the audit report

Pennellville Volunteer Fireman’s Association (VFA) Fire Chief Duane Royal was charged with grand larceny Sunday, November 26, 2015, for allegedly stealing gas from the fire association for his private use according to an auditand investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Royal admitted to DiNapoli’s staff and the New York State Police that he gassed up at the VFA pump and used the VFA chief’s truck for his personal business as a process server.  He was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony. DiNapoli’s staff also found that Royal was suspended for a month after selling the VFA truck for $3,000 without informing his colleagues.

The Comptroller’s auditconcluded that the Pennellville VFA failed to account for cash disbursements, that the treasurer lacked cash receipts for 261 deposits totaling $134,882, and that board members could not say whether music event-fundraisers benefited the VFA due to the lack of treasurer reports for four such events.

DiNapoli made 16 recommendations to the VFA board and Treasurer, including:


1. Strengthen internal controls with specific guidance for cash receipts and disbursements;

2. Train the treasurer to adequately perform his or her duties and require monthly reports on financial transactions;

3. Strengthen fuel purchase controls; and

4. Maintain detailed financial records related to cash transactions, fundraising events and loans to members.

VFA officials agreed with the Comptroller’s audit findings and stated that most have been implemented. Their response is included in the final audit report, which can be viewed on the Internet at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/firedists/2015/pennellville.pdf  

DiNapoli reported that his audits and investigations have led to more than 100 arrests and $20 million in money recovered since 2011. Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has been committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. Allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money may be reported by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.

Prior case reports may be viewed on the Internet at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations/index.htm
 

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