They Need a Full-Time Lawyer On The Board
THE BENNINGTON (Vermont) RURAL FIRE DEPARTMENT is continuing its string of losing officers and members to arrests for felonious activities.
Former fire chief Joseph Hayes was arrested this past Friday and charged with fraudulent actions with relation to a department raffle. The Bennington Banner reports:
Hayes, 43, who lost his bid to be re-elected as chief of the department last month, was cited for false pretenses and embezzlement, Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said Monday. Hayes' wife, Angela, was also cited for being an accessory to Hayes' false pretenses charge.
"This all stems from a raffle at the Bennington Rural Fire Department while he was the chief where, allegedly, people who won prizes as a result of the raffle never received them. There is an allegation that money that people paid for raffle tickets was never turned over to the department," Doucette said.
The case is still under investigation, according to Doucette. Both Hayes and his wife have been cited to be arraigned in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on March 25.
Hayes is still under probation following a disorderly conduct charge from last June when he threw a flashlight at a citizen's car on an emergency scene. He is no stranger to the justice system either. In 2007 Hayes was charged with embezzling funds from his FD but he was referred to a court diversion program and escaped conviction.
At last year's election of officers, Hayes lost his position of fire chief, coming in second in the contest, but was then appointed to the committee in charge of monitoring the department's funds.
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* This past December Firegeezer reported that a fire captain with the BRFD was charged with repeated sexual assault on a 13-yr.-old girl. (See the Firegeezer report HERE.)
* In March 2011 Firegeezer reported that the then assistant fire chief of the BRFD was arrested and charged with felony embezzlement. Henry Cross had purloined a half-dozen light bars that the Bennington County Sheriff had donated to the department and then sold them off to other FD's out of state and kept the proceeds. (Read that report HERE.)
* In May 2008 we told you about two BRFD members who were charged with inappropriate sexual contact with a 15-yr.-old female junior member. Firegeezer posted at the time:
First Assistant Chief Shawn LaFountain, 31, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age and lewd and lascivious conduct. Firefighter Colby A. Harwood, 22, also of Bennington, pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault.
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There must be something in the water around there because in March 2010 we also reported on a volunteer fire police member of the Bennington Fire Department (separate from the Rural Fire Department) who was charged along with his wife and a close friend of theirs with felonious arson for burning down their own house for the insurance proceeds. Firegeezer reported at the time:
Ralph Brown, 41, is associated with the Bennington Fire Department as a fire police officer, somebody who volunteers to provide safety and security at emergency scenes. Brown, his wife Stacey Brown, 34, their friend Joe Thomas, 26, and “several children” live together in a house that is owned by Stacey Brown.
According to the police reports, on February 26 the BFD was called to Brown’s house during the day for a fire in the basement that was easily extinguished. It was determined that it started near the furnace where two electrical wires had shorted out against each other. The next day, February 27, the fire department responded to the home again for a fire on the 2nd-floor that ended up burning the house down completely.
Read that full report HERE.
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