Insider Theft Costs South Dakota Volunteer FD $170k

The former treasurer of a South Dakota volunteer fire department stands accused of stealing $170,000.

Denae Baustian, 46, of the Tea Fire Department in Lincoln County, was indicted last week by a grand jury on felony theft charges. The theft was discovered late last year.

Baustian had only been with the fire department since 2007, and became the treasurer in 2009. She apparently wasted no time, stealing the $170,000 over a 2 year period during which the department’s annual budget was around $100,000 per year.

Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman says the amount will have a big impact the fire department, although Fire Department President Dale Cook says that residents are not in danger.

More in the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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