Volunteer Fire Chief Admits Filing False Claims for Damaged Equipment

March 15, 2019

A volunteer fire chief in North Carolina was ordered to repay $23,000 that he took form insurance carriers after filing fraudulent claims for fire department equipment, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s office said.

Kenan Wayne Kearney of Four Oaks, pleaded guilty in Johnston County Superior Court to six felony counts of insurance fraud, seven counts of felony embezzlement, and 12 counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense. Kearney, 45, was the former chief of the Blackman’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.

Superior Court Judge Tanya T. Wallace gave Kearney a six to 17-month suspended sentence on the condition that he pay $23,841.31 in restitution, court costs, and submit to 36 months of supervised probation. Kearney was also ordered not to hold a position of trust or a position to handle funds and to notify the state fire marshal within 14 days of being employed with a fire department, the department said.

According to court documents, Kearney turned in claims for four portable radios, a portable air pack, and a thermal imaging device, falsely saying that they were either lost or damaged between 2013 and 2017.

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