Department’s Destruction Was Family Affair
THE VENANGO COUNTY (Pennsylvania) COURT passed sentence Monday on the former treasurer of the defunct Chapmanville VFD. Kimberly Keener, now 42, was arrested last March and charged with stealing literally all of the funds out of the department’s treasury, causing them to go bankrupt.
Keener, the wife of the fire chief, pled guilty in October and was sentenced this Monday to seven years probation and required to pay $25,000 restitution.
This embezzlement case was especially unusual in that a large proportion of the company’s officers and membership were all members of the extended Keener family. Firegeezer covered this story back in October when Gnome Handler posted an article, The Whole Fam Damily Went Dipping! (HERE).
The Titusville Herald wrote in part,
Keener assumed the position of treasurer at the beginning of February 2010. In this capacity, it was Keener’s responsibility to maintain the funds for the fire department; which includes paying bills and writing checks. She was also responsible for making deposits into the department’s checking account, along with basic day-to-day book keeping.
When Keener assumed the treasurer position, the investigation, conducted by the state Department of Auditor General Office of Special Investigations and the Franklin-based state police, found that the VFD’s general fund balance was $25,614.96. Today, the account has a zero balance. Police say the money is unaccounted for.
During the course of the investigation into the missing funds, it was found that Keener had misappropriated at least $25,316.66 from the VFD by writing checks payable to herself for $3,490; checks payable to her mother for $17,326.66; diverting a $4,000 check payable the fire department; and by distributing diverted Troy Township funds to her mother totaling $500.
Moreover, investigators say that Keener misappropriated at least $7,600 from the Relief Association by writing a check payable to her mother for $5,600, and a check to the fire department for $2,000.
It all came unraveled back in October 2012 when the department ran out of money and couldn’t pay its bills. The township supervisors advised the FD that they would decertify the department unless all the elected officers and the board of directors, a total of 12 people, resigned their offices by November 7. The officers were: Kevin Keener, chief; Kelly Keener, president; Keith Keener, assistant chief; Racheal Keener, vice president; Kristy Blake, secretary; and Kimberly Keener, treasurer.
By the deadline only four members had resigned and the supervisors went through with their promise and shut the department down and the investigation by the State Police got underway. Since then three more directors have resigned leaving five others still hanging on. Tellingly, all five of them are Keener family members.
Thanks to Mark Donovan for update.
* * * * * * *