UPDATE 7/30/14 @ 6:50 p.m.
PRICHARD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Members from the Advisory Board at the Prichard Volunteer Fire Department are speaking out about the embezzlement case that left them with no choice but to fire their former chief.
Roger Workman Jr., the assistant chairman of the board, says up to $40,000 is missing from three of their department’s accounts.
Upon investigation, Workman says he could prove that former chief Don Mark Newman embezzled at least $24,000.
“The word kind of got out on the grapevine that we were onto him, and he did call me say we needed to talk,” Workman said. “He confessed at that point in taking around three thousand dollars.”
That’s when Workman says he asked Newman to hand over his keys and all of his equipment that belonged to the department.
Members of the board started taking over all of the finances and realized numerous problems.
Workman said the department received a letter from Workers Comp, saying they had not complied with an audit. A payment on a fire truck was missed, resulting in an $800 late fee, and payments were missed on other various things.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office charged Don Mark Newman of Prichard with three counts of embezzlement on July 23.
According to a criminal complaint, Newman admitted to taking $14,750 from a building fund, $4,935 from the general account and payroll fund and admitted to writing checks to withdraw from other accounts during the 2013 and 2014 calendar years.
In the complaint, Newman also stated he had billed the department for fire department shifts and runs that he did not go on.
Workman says the advisory board has frozen all funds at the department and is now in full control of all financial decisions. As a precaution, the board is requiring two members to sign off on all financial transactions.
Workman says services will not be disrupted.
“Fire service and ambulance service will be 100 percent to Prichard and Fort Gay,” Workman said. “It will just take time to rebuild the money. We did have a little cushion to operate on and now that’s gone, but we will make it and we will be fine.”
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office charged Don Mark Newman, of Prichard, with three counts of embezzlement on July 23.
According to the criminal complaint, Newman came into the fire department and told the new chief that he took money from three department accounts during the 2013-2014 calendar years.
Newman said during a video confession with investigators that he took $14,750 from a building fund, and about $4,935 from the general account and payroll fund, according to the complaint. He also said he billed the department for shift and runs that he did not go on.
The compliant also said Newman confessed to writing checks from other accounts.
Newman was immediately fired a chief after admitting to the alleged embezzlement.