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Former fire department officers sentenced for theft

April 25, 2012

MATAMORAS, PA — A former Matamoras Volunteer Fire Department chief, Kevin DeGroat, and his wife Teresa, former treasurer of the department, were sentenced on Friday, April 20 for theft, and sent to prison for a period of two months to two years.

The couple had plead guilty in February to a charge of stealing $68,000 from the fire department employing a variety of strategems, including using the fire department credit card for personal purchases and using department funds to pay school taxes. The majority of the funds stolen reportedly consisted of money that had been pocketed from bingo fundraisers instead of being deposited in the bank for the department.

As part of a plea agreement, the couple agreed to repay $20,000 of the money stolen. However, since that money had not in fact been paid as of last Friday, four more years of probation have been added to their sentences.

The fire department submitted a letter asking for the maximum sentence and saying it had been devastated both financially and emotionally. However, some supporters of the DeGroats claim that they have been the victims of a personal vendetta on the part of other fire department members.