GALETON — The former treasurer of the Genesee Fire and Ambulance Department is in jail for allegedly embezzling more than $93,000 from the volunteer fire department over a year’s time.
Scott Andrew Luce, 35, of 345 Main St., Genesee, is charged with a total of 128 counts relating to theft of money.
According to state police, Luce had been charged in 2017 for similar conduct when he was with the Independence Fire and Ambulance Department. In that case, he was charged with taking more than $10,000.
On June 8, 2017, the chairman of the fire department reported to his board that Luce had been charged in New York, and they removed him as their treasurer, “took all receipts, checkbooks, computer and put a new lock on the office door at the firehall,” the criminal complaint on the Pennsylvania charges indicated.
The fire department officials spoke with authorities in New York, who told them to look for deposits or payments to Luce’s credit cards. A preliminary search showed about $50,000 in deposits or payments for 2017, the complaint stated.
On July 7, 2017, Coudersport-based state police spoke to fire department officials again, who said the check registers, receipts and other documents were lost. He said they had been in the office, but now are gone, and the video surveillance footage was blank, the complaint alleged.
On Dec. 11, 2017, state police served a search warrant on the fire department for financial records and the security system. Luce was present at the time, as was the fire department’s chairman.
A set of keys to the office door at the firehall was found in Luce’s desk. The surveillance footage is kept in the office. During the search, police were informed that Luce had been reinstated as treasurer for the fire and ambulance department, the complaint stated.
In early 2018, police subpoenaed the bank records of the fire department and of Luce, and they allegedly found Luce had been depositing payments from the ambulance department account into his own personal account. Police noted the only deposits in the account were ones from the fire department, as no paycheck direct deposit was set up on Luce’s account, the complaint stated.
In May 2018, police met with fire department officials, and were told that no one had given Luce permission to divert department funds into his personal accounts. In September 2018, the ambulance billing company gave police a copy of a request from Luce to change a direct deposit from the department’s account to his own, the complaint stated.
Luce was arraigned Wednesday before Galeton District Judge Kari McCleaft and remanded to jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. July 3 before McCleaft.
He was charged with one count of receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; 15 counts of theft by unlawful disposition of funds, third-degree felonies; 20 counts of access device fraud, third-degree felonies; one count of criminal use of a communication facility, a third-degree felony; 31 counts of theft by unlawful disposition, first-degree misdemeanors; and 42 counts of theft by unlaw disposition, second-degree misdemeanors.
The charges are graded based upon the amount of money that was involved in each unlawful transaction, the complaint indicated.