When I hear the mention of Alabama’s Friendship Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) my mind immediately jumps to the thought of a sweet, small, benevolent, rural community; and not necessarily to fraud and theft. ::Sigh:: Thank you cruel world for shattering my optimistic thoughts, yet again.
It was announced last week that the Deputy Chief, Angelia Curran, of the Friendship Volunteer Fire Department, participated in some not so friendly actives after she pled guilty to federal charges for embezzlement of federal funds.
Curran worked for the Friendship Volunteer Fire Department and submitted grant applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) pursuant to FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters – Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Programs in 2005.
The grants were for money to purchase, among other things, personal protective equipment for FVFD personnel and items for general fire prevention/awareness for children. FEMA awarded the FVFD over $120,000.00. Between July 2006 and April 2007, Curran embezzled and stole $28,386.27 of these FEMA grant funds. Curran has agreed to repay the $28,386.27 to FEMA.
United States Attorney George Beck comments that, “volunteer fire departments are essential for the protection of our citizens in rural communities. To take grant money from a volunteer fire department could have put those rural citizens in harm’s way. Curran was trusted with these funds and our office will continue to prosecute those people who are trusted to provide services and abuse that trust.”
The case has been investigated by both the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. James Ward, Special Agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made the comment, “As a general matter, the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General remains vigilant in seeking the prosecution of those, who attempt to defraud our government and federal programs, such as FEMA to the fullest extent of the Federal law” – Source.
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