The former treasurer of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department charged with embezzling more than $5.7 million on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, announced.
Michael Klein was arrested on charges of wire fraud and subscribing to false tax returns as the indictment was unsealed in White Plains Federal Court.
Klein embezzled the more than $5.7 million by writing more than 275 checks over a period of more than 13 years, Bharara said, using the money to purchase, among other things, yachts, a second residence in Palm City, Florida, and jewelry.
The 48-year-old Klein, who was elected treasurer in 2001, embezzled MVFD funds under his control by writing checks to the two businesses he owned, Abbie Graphic Services, Ltd. and Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp. from about January 2002 to about September 2015, Bharara said.
Klein then deposited the checks to bank accounts held by Abbie Graphics or BEEC and entered these checks into the MVFD’s books as having been made payable to various vendors, other than Abbie Graphics or BEEC, that sold firefighting equipment or services used by fire departments, according to Bharara.
"Public corruption victimizes the public generally, but here, the people of Mahopac and its volunteer firefighters have suffered specifically and directly, having lost almost $6 million that could have been used for good, but instead was allegedly squandered away by Klein," Bharara said.
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