RONCO, Pa. (KDKA) – The chief of a volunteer fire department in Fayette County is being accused of stealing nearly $25,000 from the department.
State police say Nicholas Easter is facing multiple charges for allegedly forging checks, cashing them and using the money on personal purchases.
According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, it all started in May of 2018 when a member and trustee of the Ronco VFD asked about the balance of the department’s checking account.
Easter allegedly couldn’t produce the ledger, so the trustee checked the account himself. He told police Easter said the account’s balance was supposed to be around $27,000, but when he checked, he claims the account only had $7,500 in it.
During the investigation, state police say the trustee reportedly found checks with signatures that appeared to be forged.
Easter is also accused of falsifying expenses for the department. He then allegedly made checks payable to himself, cash, his mother or First National Bank.
The criminal complaint alleges 56 different counts of theft, totaling an amount of $24,739 in stolen funds.
On one instance, Easter allegedly bought himself a new truck with $11,000 in cash taken from the department.
Police say Easter was the only person who had physical control of the checks during the investigation period.
Easter is facing multiple charges, including over 100 counts of forgery and nearly 60 counts of theft by unlawful taking.