3 fire officials face trial for stealing $50K from department
The former fire department employees are facing multiple counts of theft and conspiracy
COLWYN, Pa. — After three fire officials were accused of stealing $50,000 from a fire department, court proceedings continued Wednesday.
Former Colwyn Borough Fire Company President Elizabeth Cellini, 51, was arraigned on theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, failure to make dispensation of funds and conspiracy.
The former treasurer and Cellini’s daughter, Lauren Cellini, 26, faces identical charges. Former Fire Chief and Cellini’s boyfriend, Gary Brice, 50, was charged with conspiracy; his arraignment is in June.
The three were arrested last year after investigators received a tip that the fire company was failing to pay its bills, even though it was receiving tax money and state funding, Delaware County Daily Times reported.
Over the course of a 10-month investigation, officials allegedly found $17,000 worth of checks written by Cellini to her mother and Brice. According to an affidavit, the checks were cashed without receipts explaining the disbursements. Moreover, investigators found several other instances of checks cashed from the fire company’s six separate bank accounts without proper documentation.
“The only receipt we did get from them was for dog treats and dog toys, and they don’t have a Dalmation,” District Attorney Jack Whelan said.
Although they claim the money was used solely for fire company purposes, Whelan said his office has sufficient evidence against those claims.
All three defendants are out on bail and court proceedings will continue in June.