Former fire chief sentenced to prison

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Inco-Check

By Sarah Richardson

On Thursday, Oct. 17, the former BOE Transportation Director and Fire Chief of the Union Volunteer Fire Department was sentenced to two to ten years in the state penitentiary by the Monroe County Circuit Court. Larry Dunbar, 61, of Union, was indicted on charges for fraudulent schemes and embezzlement of public funds.

“This was a long term, personal theft by a trusted member of this community,” said State Auditor John B. McCuskey. “We appreciate the court’s acknowledgement of the work by our Public Integrity and Fraud Unit, and vigorous prosecution by Prosecuting Attorney Justin St. Clair.”

According to a press release issued from the WV State Auditor’s Office, “Dunbar entered his pleas on Sept. 12, 2019, before Circuit Judge Robert A. Irons to one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of embezzlement. The case involved two separate Indictments alleging thefts of taxpayer dollars from the Monroe County Board of Education, where he was Transportation Director, as well as the Union Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as the Chief. Judge Irons ordered Dunbar to immediately begin serving consecutive sentences. In addition to jail time, Dunbar was ordered to pay $19,800 in restitution to the school board, $66,290.80 to the fire department, and $47,168.86 to the State Auditor’s Office for the cost of the investigation. Dunbar asked the court for leniency blaming his conduct on poor record keeping. However, the Prosecuting Attorney argued for the maximum at the school board’s request. Furthermore, in support of the sentence, St. Clair mentioned Dunbar made 274 separate ATM withdrawals for cash, wrote 20 checks to himself, and submitted fraudulent invoices for reimbursement.”

“Instead of blaming poor bookkeeping, he needed to tell the community ‘I stole your money’ but instead he lied about it,” St. Clair added. “Mr. Dunbar then continued larcenies from the fire department even after the discovery of his thefts from the school board.”