Alabama Chief Sentenced for Stealing From the Fire Department

An Alabama fire chief will be serving 10-months of a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to stealing from the department. Jeremy Scott Terry, 40, pled guilty last week to first-degree theft of property from the Millport Fire Department. The case was prosecuted by the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office.

As part of his guilty plea, Terry agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $14,630.93 and will have to serve supervised probation for five years following his release. He resigned from the department in late 2017. According to a statement issued by District Attorney Andrew Hamlin:

  • Mr. Terry used his position as fire chief to make purchases with fire department monies for his personal gain.
  • The Millport Fire Department is funded by private donations and funds from the Lamar County Firefighters Association as well as the Town of Millport.
  • Mr. Terry became the Fire Chief of the Millport Fire Department in January 2017, and on march 30, 2017 he became an authorized used for a debit card linked to the Department’s bank account.
  • The investigation revealed that over the course of several months in 2017, Mr. Terry used the debit card to make unauthorized purchases for his personal gain; including paying personal bills, recreational events, tools, the purchase of motorcycle parts and unauthorized cash withdrawals from the Millport Fire Department’s bank account.
  • Mr. Terry’s behavior is shameful.
  • He was entrusted as Chief and betrayed this trust by living out of the department’s bank account.
  • He’s a thief and there are consequences when you take property that is not yours; especially, when that property is money that has been donated and raised in support of volunteer firefighters that risk their lives and do so much for this community.

According to the statement, Terry has already paid restitution to the department. More on the story.

Here is District Attorney Andrew Hamlin’s press release.

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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