California Firefighter Sentenced for Pink Collar Theft

A female firefighter who stole $25,000 from a union-organized toy-drive fund has been sentenced to two days in prison and three years of probation.

Holly Kaye Nelson, 54, pled no contest to stealing $25,583 from the San Bruno Professional Firefighters Association. The thefts occurred between January 2015 and October 2016 and came from a fund earmarked to purchase toys for disadvantaged youths.

Nelson, who resigned amidst an investigation in late 2016, claims she stole the money out of frustration with being mistreated and bullied as a female firefighter. She was the sole person who oversaw the fund.

Nelson was originally charged with felony embezzlement. After she paid restitution to the association, she was allowed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of theft. In addition to probation, Nelson must serve 300 hours of public service. She was also credited with having served two-days in prison, meaning she will not have to serve the two additional days.

More on the story.

For those following the Pink Collar Crime issue, this is the first union-related Pink Collar theft case we have seen. Big shout out to Kelly Paxton for the head-up!

Here is a link to our recent podcast on Pink Collar Crime.

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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