This Time It's Dad Again
PAUL LITRICO, 48, THE DISGRACED former chief of a fire district in Manchester, Connecticut, was arrested yesterday (Monday) and charged with larceny by a public official. The fresh charges relate to Litrico's alleged falsification of records that certified that 17 volunteer firefighters in the Eighth Utilities District VFD had qualified for a $400 property tax abatement based on their active participation in the department.
After being tipped off in July, the town began an investigation into the practice and found that in reality there are only 3 members that qualify for the tax relief. When asked by the town's finance director to verify the accuracy of his reports, the related documents suddenly disappeared. It was then that the case was turned over to the police department.
Eighth Utilities District firefighters are a largely volunteer based unit of fire fighters that respond to calls in northern portion of Manchester and are also available for mutual aid calls in other parts of town. The volunteer firefighters are eligible to receive a tax break of up to $400 off their motor vehicle taxes each year, according to a town ordinance, but must response to at least 120 emergency calls, 25 of which have to be mutual aid calls.
Litrico's wife, Mary Beth Litrico is, or was, the Assistant Fire Chief and their son Joseph, 24, was a vol. firefighter and a paid EMT for the department. The wheels started coming off the family fire wagon back in March when son Joseph was arrested after being observed by detectives purchasing heroin while in uniform on FD property.
At the time, the Manchester Patch reported:
According to police, Joseph Litrico was observed by surveillance units purchasing heroin while on duty and in uniform in the parking lot of the fire house on Main Street March 12. When police approached Litrico, they said he admitted to purchasing the drugs. A search of Litrico's person and vehicle revealed five bags of heroin (approximately 1.97 grams), more than 50 bags of already used heroin, Suboxone pills — a restricted narcotic used to treat opiate addictions — a small amount of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.
Joseph Litrico was charged with possession of heroin, possession of Suboxone, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics within 1,500 of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school and possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana.
The following month in April, again following a tip, the police investigated a raffle being held by the VFD that runs for several months each year. The tickets for a chance at winning a new car sell for $150 and the investigation disclosed that 26 of the tickets were unaccounted for. The draw was scheduled for August. That investigation is still open. (More on this story HERE.)
In July the district council decided they had enough of the Litrico's and fired Paul after serving as fire chief for nine years. He is expected to be back in court on his latest charges in January.
The Hartford Courant has MORE.
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