Indiana Sues Former Chief To Recover Missing Funds

The state of Indiana filed suit today against a former fire chief who is accused of embezzling nearly $60,000. Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller’s office filed suit against former Speedway fire chief Mark Watson seeking to recover the taxpayers’ money.

The suit follows the release of a state audit into the department that uncovered a variety of improprieties Chief Watson engaged in, including:

  • Creating a personal bank account in the name of “DBA Speedway F.D.” without the knowledge or permission of the town, and transferred $42,992.53 in funds belonging to the town into the account
  • Creating a fictitious vendor called “Fireprof” and obtaining a purchase order to pay the company almost $4,500 for SCBA repairs. [The uncashed check was found among the chief’s office paperwork after he left]
  • 158 prospective firefighters took an entry-level exam and paid $20 each, which was never turned over to the town
  • Selling clothing purchased by the town to firefighters and not turning the funds for over to the town
  • Overpaying himself for his clothing allowance

Chief Watson resigned in October after being confronted with questions about purchasing irregularities.

Here is a copy of the complaint: 7.30.15.State.v.Mark.Watson.complaint.to.recover.public.funds

Here is a copy of the audit: B45219

More on the lawsuit 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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