A Lower Southampton Township Police Officer has been arrested on charges of theft and tampering with public records while involved with the Feasterville Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association (VFRA).
Brian Walter, who is 33 years old and a 10-year veteran of the force, was taken into custody after a Bucks County Grand Jury found him responsible for misappropriating more than $51,000 belonging to the VFRA.
According to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, while serving different roles within the association, including Vice President and Treasurer, Walton mishandled the funds by making improper loans to himself and five other Feasterville Fire Company members.
The office says Walter misdirected the funds by writing seven unauthorized checks for loans. In amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, the loans were used to pay for two weddings, tuition bills, and a down payment on a house, among other expenses, according to investigators.
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Walter then allegedly fabricated fraudulent loan documents and submitted them to the Auditor General, giving the appearance he was accurately tracking and collecting loan payments.
VFRA expenditures are approved with majority vote in the fire company’s membership. However, none of the seven checks that Walton used were brought before members. The report states Walter hid all the activity from the department.
The Feasterville VFRA receives funds from the Auditor General every year, and are restricted to how they can use the funds. Personal loans like Walter’s are not permitted.
“While the VFRA executive board was supposed to be a recommending body subject to the will of the entire membership, it was perverted into a secret society for Brian Walter to pay himself, his family and a privileged few,” the grand jury presentment said.
The association’s funds are intended for the benefit of volunteer firefighters, and help provide relief or volunteers injured or killed while on duty.
Despite the other volunteers’ involvement, the Bucks County Investigating Grand Jury found Walter to be the only one at fault because he had full control over the VFRA Executive Board.
Walter’s bail is set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 7th, but that date could change.