Audit team will assist law enforcement in alleged theft investigation in Northampton County
Submitted by Barry Ciccocioppo
HARRISBURG- Concerned about alarming allegations, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his audit team will assist in the investigation of missing funds at the Lehigh Township Volunteer Fireman’s Relief Association in Northampton County.
“I am making this audit an immediate priority after hearing from a VFRA leader about allegations of theft,” DePasquale said, noting that the allegations were turned over to law enforcement and are now part of a criminal investigation.
“My team spoke with law enforcement officials today to coordinate efforts to examine VFRA documents,” DePasquale said.
“This is a matter of public confidence that must be addressed quickly and swiftly. I want to do anything possible to assist in this investigation. There must be an accounting of tax dollars,” DePasquale said.
“I have heard from the leadership at the VFRA. I share their desire to be upfront with the public and be vigilant in vetting these allegations.”
The VFRA received $72,681 in state funds in 2016. The money is to be used to maintain and purchase fire equipment, training, insurance and public safety. The last audit was released in February 2018 and examined the years of 2014 to 2016. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the VFRA had a cash balance of $87,283.
“We must account for every penny of these funds which are used to help volunteer firefighters save lives and protect communities,” DePasquale said.