Pa. ambulance association president charged with theft

Robert Gotay pocketed about $16,000; he resigned after the missing money was noticed and confessed that he had a severe gambling problem

The Times-Tribune

OLD FORGE, Pa. — A former president of the defunct Old Forge Ambulance and Rescue Association is facing theft and forgery charges after investigators say he wrote himself $16,000 in checks from the organization.

Robert Gotay, 50, 1216 Washburn St., Scranton, told Old Forge police he has a severe gambling problem and admitted to the theft, according to a criminal complaint filed by police Chief Jason Dubernas.

Acting president Bernard Smircheko Jr. told Chief Dubernas on Sept. 17 that he noticed checks made out to cash from the association’s bank statements that had no receipts attached.

Mr. Smircheko set up a Sept. 11 meeting with Mr. Gotay, then president. Mr. Gotay never showed.

Association Vice President Sean Boyle requested copies of all checks on Sept. 14.

Association members discovered how much had been taken and Mr. Smircheko confronted Mr. Gotay on Sept. 16.

Mr. Gotay admitted he wrote and cashed checks to himself. After that, Mr. Gotay stepped down from his role as president.

Mr. Boyle told police that Mr. Gotay forged his signature on the checks.

The ambulance association, which is out of service, is a private entity separate from the borough, Chief Dubernas said. Pennsylvania Ambulance covers the borough.

Magisterial District Judge Terrence V. Gallagher released Mr. Gotay on $20,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14.

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