Pink Collar Theft in Mississippi VFD

The treasurer for a volunteer fire department in Mississippi has been indicted on embezzlement charges. Sandra “Carlene” Statham was the treasurer for Friendship Volunteer Fire Department.

According to an investigation conducted by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, she wrote checks to herself that totaled $35,772.23 more than what her compensation entitled her to. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Magnolia State Live quoted Auditor Shad White as saying:

  • “This particular scheme went on far too long. Small offices—from fire departments to small state agencies to local governments—have to be particularly vigilant when one employee has a great deal of power over the checkbook.”
  • “The best way to prevent this from happening in other places is to make sure responsibility for handling money and the checkbook is divided among multiple people.”

The prevalence of women who steal goes largely unnoticed in our society in general, and in the fire service in particular. My data shows women account for over 1/3rd of the organizational theft cases in the fire service. For more on the problem of Pink Collar Crime, please visit my friend Kelly Paxton’s blog.

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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