Ex-cop who stole from firefighter relief fund loses Pa. city pension
Corey Cole Jr. admitted to stealing an estimated $315,000 from the Lehigh Township Fireman’s Relief Association
The Morning Call
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — An ex-Allentown police officer who pleaded guilty to $315,000 in theft from a firefighter’s relief fund has ended his fight to receive a pension from the city.
Corey Cole Jr., 44, of East Allen Township, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to stealing around $315,000 from the Lehigh Township Fireman’s Relief Association. But Northampton County President Judge Michael J. Koury Jr. allowed Cole to withdraw his guilty plea in November 2020 while Cole appealed the city’s decision to deny him his pension.
Allentown had moved to deny Cole his pension payments, which would have amounted to $47,000 yearly. Cole was an Allentown police officer from 2000 to 2018.
A former treasurer of the fireman’s relief association, Cole wrote more than $221,000 in checks to benefit himself, spent nearly $74,000 using the association’s bank card, and created nearly $20,000 of false invoices, authorities said. Police said Cole spent the money on online shopping, dining out and entertainment.
Allentown argued that Cole stole the money while serving as an officer, rendering him ineligible for his pension.
The Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas sided with the city in November, denying Cole the pension. Cole on Tuesday re-entered his guilty plea on charges of theft and access device fraud.
The charges carry maximum sentences of 10 years and seven years respectively. Cole will be sentenced on July 13.
Cole’s attorney, Gregory Spang, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Because the city denied Cole’s pension, he will not receive yearly payments from the city, but Allentown will return around $73,000 in Cole’s own contributions to his pension funds. Nearly all of that will go toward the $68,000 he still owes to the fireman’s association.
The fireman’s association’s insurance returned $250,000 to the association to help it weather the loss, but the association is still out around $73,000 because of the theft. Cole still owes the insurance company the $250,000, which Augustine said Cole will likely pay in monthly installments. Cole’s sentencing will determine what those payments will look like.
Cole expressed remorse for his actions in August 2020.
“You have no idea how sorry I am for the hurt I caused,” Cole said. “These firefighters are a brotherhood. And I threw that all away.”
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