Former fire dept. treasurer sentenced for embezzling $5.7M
Michael Klein was sentenced to six years and five months in prison after stealing from the department for 13 years
By FireRescue1 Staff
MAHOPAC, N.Y. — A former volunteer fire department treasurer has been sentenced to six years and five months in prison after embezzling from the department for 13 years.
LoHud.com reported that Michael Klein was sentenced for scheming against the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department. He must also pay $5.7 million in restitution.
In March, Klein admitted to one count of wire fraud, six counts of subscribing to false tax returns, one count of obstructing a grand jury investigation and one count of making false statements to the U.S. Attorney.
Klein consistently wrote checks to himself and his company, Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp., while showing another set of books to department auditors.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing how much this person stole, and from whom,” U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel said. “He did it 275 times over a dozen or so years.”
Judge Seibel said Klein spent the money on a “lavish lifestyle, using the public money to buy a 55-foot yacht, a vacation home in Florida, an antique fire truck, a Mercedes Benz S550, and a 37-foot Thunderbird Formula boat.” He also spent two weeks in the Caribbean, where he spent $39,000 on jewelry.
“He completely lost track of right and wrong,” she said. “The harm he did goes before the money. The trust has been shattered and the members feel betrayed ... It’s like a knife in the heart of those people.”