Former Hudson Valley Fire Department Treasurer Guilty of Embezzling More Than $5.6 Million
A former Hudson Valley fire department treasure pleaded guilty to embezzling over $5.6 million from the fire department and much more.
On Tuesday in Southern District of New York Court, 48-year-old Michael Klein of Mahopac, the former treasurer of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department plead guilty to wire fraud, subscription to false tax returns, obstruction of the
grand jury and false statement charges.
According court documents, Klein stole funds from the fire department by writing checks to two businesses he owned, over a nearly 13-year-period. Klein then deposited the checks to bank accounts held by his businesses.
He entered the checks into the fire department books as being paid to a number of vendors who sold firefighting equipment or services used by fire departments.
Over the 13-year period, Klein wrote 275 checks.
Klein used the stolen money to buy a 55-foot yacht, a second home in Florida, an antique fire truck, jewelry and more.
Klein also failed to report any of the income on his personal tax returns from 2009 through 2014, which led him to submit false tax reforms, officials say.
“Michael Klein admitted today what we alleged – for over a decade, he violated the trust of his fellow volunteer fire fighters and used the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department funds as his own slush fund,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Along with his guilty plea, Klein agreed to forfeit to the United States a sum of $5,675,360.49, his home in Florida, his equity in his yacht club in Palm City, Florida, cash held in various bank accounts, a 1931 American LaFrance antique fire engine, proceeds of a life insurance policy, a 2000 13' Nautica vessel with an outboard motor and a 2005 Eliminator trailer.
Klein faces up to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.