PDT Staff Writer
Former Portsmouth Firefighter Eric Wallace plead guilty on Wednesday afternoon to one count of theft and two counts of forgery, after an investigation by the Portsmouth Fire Department.
According to the initial report of the situation from the Daily Times, in December of 2012 Wallace, was placed on administrative leave by Portsmouth Mayor David Malone pending an investigation by the Portsmouth Fire Department.
On Feb. 6, Wallace was notified by Malone that his administrative leave was terminated and he was being placed on suspension without pay.
In May, Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said a Bill of Information was filed that charges Wallace with one count of theft and two counts of forgery.
On Wednesday, Wallace was in Judge William T. Marshall’s courtroom for a plea hearing, in which he plead guilty and paid the remainder of the restitution.
“He entered a guilty plea on, three felonies, one count of theft and two counts of forgery involving the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 512. He (Wallace) had a check with him for the restitution, that was owed. He had payed back just under $15,000 before the crime discovered and he had a check for $15,000 for the firefighters union yesterday (Wednesday),” Kuhn said.
When asked what’s next for Wallace, Kuhn said, “he has a sentencing set Aug. 16. We’ve made a recommendation to the judge on a sentence.”
Kuhn said the recommendation includes that Wallace pay full restitution of $30,000.
“We also wanted the felony convictions that he just plead guilty to and we wanted a jail sentence. We’re also recommending a 60-day jail sentence. I think if he abides by the terms and conditions of his bond, the judge will do that,” Kuhn said.
He said Wallace did show remorse during Wednesday’s plea hearing.
Local 512 President Tony Hamilton said, as a result of what happened, they have changed their accounting practices to ensure this does not happen again.
“We are ready to move on and try to repair our image,” Hamilton said.
When asked how they intend to move forward Hamilton said, “Continue on with business as usual. As firefighters we are all about the community, always have been and we always will be. I just hope that people do not look at the mistake of one person, we’re a union.”
Hamilton said the union does a number of fundraisers throughout the year that supports a number of charities.
“We are hoping people will not stop give as a result of this. People tend to put things behind them and forget and forgive. People say you’ve misused that money before and I’m not giving you a second chance, we’re asking that the people trust us,” Hamilton said. “We’ve taken care of this problem and he’s paying the price for his crimes.”
According to reports the sentencing for Wallace is schedule for 9 a.m. on August 16.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.