Mid-Sussex County Rescue Squad: Allegedly mishandles almost $120k
The Mid-Sussex County Rescue Squad is in hot water after allegations surfaced that approximately $119,000 was unlawfully withdrawn from the non-profits bank account between 2011 to 2016.
R. Thomas Wagner, Delaware's State Auditor said, "The worst part of it is, people took money from a nonprofit that is there for a public good."
A lengthy investigation by the Delaware Office of the Auditor revealed the allegations were true.
The one accused of taking the money is the company's treasurer, who later returned about $109,000 dollars of that money.
Gerald Burbage, the Financial advisor of the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad said, "The finances of the company right now are in good shape. We recovered all the money that was lost."
The treasurer has since been suspended, and the squad's financial advisor says a new bookkeeper has been hired, and that he (Burbage) will be paying regular visits to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Burbage said, "I will be coming down periodically and doing a manual review of what they have done and what they're doing to ensure that this misappropriation does not happen again in the future."
We're told the rescue squad would like to hire new leadership, but there's a problem.
Burbage said, "With the lack of membership, it is difficult to find people who want to hold office and be held responsible."
Moving forward, Delaware Fire officials and local legislators are voicing their support for Bill 243, which allows fire companies to police their own.
Daniel Short, a House Minority Leader and past Seaford Fire Chief said, "We're going to push the governor to sign this bill. I think it will give the fire commission more control and I've already asked if there are other things that they think they should have in place with regard to best practices we need to know, and we hope we can get that done."
They believe if this bill gets signed, a fraud of this level would be less likely to happen again in the future.
Bill 243 has already passed both the house and senate, and we are told it is currently sitting on the governor's desk waiting to be signed.
The fate of the rescue squad will be determined in the next couple of months.