Florida Chief Accused of Massive Fraud Scheme

A recently retired assistant chief from Indian River County Fire Rescue, has been charged in connection with a tire-reselling scheme costing the county nearly $300,000. Assistant Chief Brian Burkeen was arrested yesterday and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

According to Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar, Burkeen would purchase tires from area tire stores, and charge the transaction to the county. He would then resell the tires for cash to unsuspecting buyers, some of whom were firefighters and county employees.

According to the arrest warrant: “Goodyear invoice records indicate between June 2014 and February 2018, Brian Burkeen carried out a total of $288,251.92 worth of tires.” Burkeen told the stores that the tires were to replace tires of people who filed damage claims against the county for poorly maintained roads.

Burkeen used Facebook and word of mouth to lure new customers. He retired on February 9, shortly before the county became aware of the excessive amount of tires being purchased. More on 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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