Pilfered Pennsylvania VFD Defaults on Mortgage

A Pennsylvania volunteer fire company that has been the victim of insider theft on two occasions last year is now being sued for defaulting on its mortgage.

On Friday, Fairway Consumer Discount Company filed suit against the Rice Township Volunteer Fire Department Association for $51,189.11, over a $43,200 mortgage that was taken out in November, 2013.

Last March, the fire company’s treasurer, Donald Leo Bly, 31, was charged with stealing nearly $4,400. In September he pled guilty and was sentenced to six months in the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, fined $1,600, and ordered to pay restitution.

In December, the company’s secretary, Gina Tombasco, 30, was charged with theft, forgery, receiving stolen property, and access device (debit card) fraud.

Tombasco, who also served as a lieutenant, joined the fire company when her brother, Kevin Tombasco, was named chief in June. She allegedly stole more than $30,000 in fundraising proceeds and took out loans in the fire company’s name to cover her tracks.

It is not clear from the news reports whether the mortgage with Fairway Consumer Discount Company was one of those fraudulent loans, but CitizensVoice.com is reporting that two of the loans Tombasco took out were with Fairway and certainly the timing would seem to coincide.

Tombasco allegedly use the money to pay personal bills. Police also report several of the debit card withdrawals occurred at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Chief Tombasco resigned after his sister was arrested.

Following the initial theft allegations involving Bly, Rice Township stopped funding the fire company and decertified it from responding to alarms within the township. This occurred last June just after the Tombasco’s joined. The company changed it’s name to the Independence Fire & Rescue Company No. 1, and agreed to respond to calls in Butler Township, Conyngham, Dennison Township, Fairview Township, Laurel Run and Newport Township when requested. The CitizensVoice.com reports the company has not had a single call since September.

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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