Former Platte County Fire District Board Member Charged With Stealing $237,000
A former long-time board member of the Platte County Rural Fire District 1F allegedly embezzled more than $237,000 during the last four years he was in office, according to an 81-count indictment filed in Platte County Circuit Court.
Donald Moede allegedly withdrew about $165,000 from the fire district’s bank account to pay balances on credit cards, lines of credit at stores, and a direct deposit into his own bank account, according to the criminal information document filed by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent last week in circuit court.
Moede also allegedly wrote $72,100 in personal checks to himself from the fire district’s bank account, according to the document.
Tuesday, he heard the charges read against him during his initial appearance in Platte County Circuit Court in Wheatland, according to court documents.
Tuesday evening, Moede said his attorney does not want him to comment on the case.
The 81-count indictment includes 21 counts of larceny by bailee or public official. Eight of those counts are misdemeanors (less than $1,000), each punishable by up to six months of imprisonment; and 13 counts are felonies (more than $1,000), each punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
The remaining counts are for theft. Nine of those counts are misdemeanors, and 51 counts are felonies.
If convicted on all counts, Moede could receive a sentence of up to 648.5 years of imprisonment.
Judge Scott Cole set his bond at $250,000, and Moede put down $25,000 in cash or surety to bond out. He will have a preliminary hearing later to determine if his case will be bound over to the Eighth District Court for trial
Court documents state Moede was elected to the voluntary board position in 1994 and ended his tenure in December 2016. He was one of three board members.
Moede had control the finances of the district including the operating account. He also had access to the districts account at the Platte Valley Bank in Wheatland.
In May, the Platte County Attorney’s Office asked the DCI to investigate after a newly elected fire district board member reported the suspected theft of funds.
The agent looked at the district’s bank records from July 26, 2012, to Oct. 24, 2016.
He found 14 credit accounts not owned by the Platte County Rural Fire District 1F account yet received payments from the district’s bank account.
A search of Moede’s banking records revealed he was the owner of the accounts that were using automated clearing house payments to receive funds from the fire district’s operating account.
Court documents did not indicate how Moede spent the money he allegedly stole.
“The (agent) was unable to locate transactions listed in any of the credit card statements that could be considered beneficial to the Platte County Rural Fire District 1F,” the agent wrote.