Embezzlement investigation of city firefighter ongoing

March 4, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office is in the process of compiling a case against a former Portsmouth firefighter accused of embezzelment of funds from the IAFF Local 512 union.

“There is an ongoing investigation,” Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison said. “To the best of my knowledge, no one has been taken away (arrested) yet. But there was an issue that arose back before Christmas, and it dealt with union funds. It did not deal with city taxpayer dollars. It had to do with union funds.”

Raison said, once he was informed, he took immediate action.

“As soon as it was brought to my attention, I contacted the prosecutor and the mayor, and we put the individual on administrative leave, and initiated an investigation,” Raison said. “There was an internal union investigation to determine exactly what might have happened. And then, once they pretty quickly came to realize that there was a serious issue, the (Portsmouth) Police Department was given everything. The Police Department then initiated a criminal investigation. That investigation, to the best of my knowledge is still ongoing.”

Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said to his knowledge, no arrest had been made up to Monday afternoon.

“We have done an investigation into that, and I believe it has all been presented to the prosecutor’s office, to present to the (Scioto County) grand jury,” Ware said.

The case is being handled by Portsmouth Police Detective Andy Dawes.

“When I talked to Andy, he was finishing up, getting some bank records,” Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said. “And he said he was going to bring it over to me some time, probably at the end of next week. I haven’t talked to him since the first of last week, but he was trying to get more bank records, trying to get the exact amount.”

Dawes said he is nearly ready to take the case to Kuhn’s office.

“It’s still open,” Dawes said. “Everything is still under investigation, and I hope to have it done in about a week.”

The unnamed suspect is no longer employed by the fire department.

“We moved to suspend the employee, and he resigned,” Raison said.

Raison said he was not aware of an arrest being made yet.

“The whole thing is unfortunate,” Raison said. “I hate to see people make bad life choices.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com