PITTSBURGH — Former Jackson Township manager Rich Crown on Friday was sentenced to serve 2 to 4 months in the Allegheny County Jail plus 12 months house arrest for stealing nearly $144,000 from the Crafton Volunteer Fire Department.
He had pleaded guilty this summer to theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and four counts of forgery in Allegheny County Court.
In addition, he will serve eight years probation beginning immediately and be required to make full restitution, Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Mariani said Friday afternoon.
Part of the fire department’s missing money was used to pay back $25,000 to Jackson Township for missing money from its accounts that he had taken while he was manager there, according to court records.
Crown, 45, of Crafton had been treasurer for the Crafton fire department since 2005 and was the sole person responsible for the department’s financial accounts, according to the complaint.
Crafton police and Allegheny County police detectives investigated the case.
Police said Michael Crown, Crown’s brother and the Crafton fire chief, on July 19, 2011, reported that Rich Crown had been depositing unauthorized checks into his personal account and making unauthorized electronic debits from the department’s accounts. He reportedly used his brother’s signature stamp to forge the checks.
Court records indicate Michael Crown became suspicious of his brother last July, when he failed to pay money that was owed to Crafton for fire rescue tools.
A total of 113 unauthorized checks totaling $112,645 and unauthorized electronic debits totaling $31,102 were discovered in the investigation, police said.
The thefts occurred between Aug. 24, 2006, and June 6, 2011.
State police had confirmed to Allegheny County police detectives that Crown was investigated for missing funds in Jackson Township, but was not charged.
He was Jackson’s manager from April 4, 2005, until he resigned over the missing money discovery on April 21, 2011.
He paid back Jackson Township, records said.
Police said they subpoenaed records from Crown’s accounts that showed he paid $25,462 to Jackson Township.
According to court records, Crown went to the home of Crafton fire department president David Morgan on July 18 and confessed he stole money from the department’s account to pay back the money he owed to Jackson Township. He said he took the money from Jackson Township because he had financial problems.
Police said Crown also said he would pay the fire department money back and asked Morgan not to pursue criminal charges.
On July 19, 2011, Crown was suspended from the Crafton fire department, and the police investigation began a day later.
Crown resigned as manager in Rochester, Beaver County, in July 2011, where he had taken a job after quitting in Jackson. After only a week on the job he resigned as officials learned of the state police investigation in Jackson.