Ex-Fire Marshal Pleads to Taking $250K for Daughter's Vegas Wedding, Trips

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents in a Montgomery County town claim a former fire marshal accused of stealing money from the fire department could have been stopped sooner if township commissioners had heeded the warnings. NBC10's George Spencer has the story. (Published Monday, Aug 26, 2013)

    A former treasurer of a Montgomery County fire company has pleaded guilty to taking about $250,000 from the nonprofit for personal expenses including his daughter's Las Vegas wedding.

    Sixty-two-year-old Ronald “Ken” Nolan of Schwenksville entered the plea Wednesday in Montgomery County Court to four of the seven counts against him, including three theft charges.

    Defense attorney Timothy Woodward said the pleas weren't part of a deal with prosecutors, who plan to seek a state prison term for Nolan.

    Nolan was treasurer of the Upper Gwynedd Township fire company for 24 years and township fire marshal for about two decades. He was accused of stealing the money over the course of six years -- from 2006 until 2012.

    Authorities said he used cash advances from the nonprofit to pay for jewelry, computers, clothing, sporting events and trips to Miami, Jamaica and China as well as his daughter's Las Vegas wedding.

    Investigators say that Nolan took $116,000 in cash from the nonprofit fire company's bank accounts and the rest of the stolen funds were linked to two department credit cards that Nolan used to buy trips to Miami, Reno, Jamaica and 15 trips to Vegas. He's accused of buying those Vegas trips for his daughter's wedding guests.

    He also used fire company money to purchase jewelry, computers and other luxuries, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

    Nolan was voted out as treasurer in December 2012. It was then that the new treasurer began to look into the department's finances. He quickly discovered inconsistencies and alerted the proper authorities who have been investigating Mr. Nolan since last summer. 

    The Upper Gwynedd Fire Department is nonprofit, funded by both tax dollars and donations from residents. Township leaders say there is no way to know how much of Nolan's thefts came from either source.