Ex-Platte County Fire District Official Pleads Guilty To Theft, Awaits Sentencing
The former board chairman of the Platte County Rural Fire District 1F probably will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty to embezzling nearly $237,000 from it, according to court records.
Donald Moede pleaded guilty to eight felony counts including theft and unauthorized transfers of funds during his arraignment before Eighth District Court Judge Scott Peasley in Wheatland on Nov. 6.
The eight counts -- three for larceny by bailee or public servant, and five for theft -- were listed in a second amended criminal complaint filed the same day.
Moedo has reimbursed the fire district $236,707.57, the total amount that was embezzled, according to court records.
Previous criminal complaints listed 81 counts, most of them felonies. If the case had gone to trial and he was found guilty, he could have faced more than 600 years of imprisonment.
Moede remains free on bond before his sentencing.
Court records say he was elected to the voluntary fire district board position in 1994 and ended his tenure in December 2016. He was one of three board members and a long-time president.
Moede had control the finances of the district including the operating account. He also had access to the district's account at the Platte Valley Bank in Wheatland.
The case started in May when the Platte County Attorney's Office asked the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation to look at the fire district's financial records after a newly elected board member reported the suspected theft of funds.
A DCI agent reviewed the district's bank records from July 26, 2012, to Oct. 24, 2016, and found 14 credit accounts not owned by the fire district account. Yet those accounts received payments from the district's bank account, the agent wrote in an affidavit.
A search of Moede's banking records revealed he was the owner of the accounts that were using automated clearing house payments to receive funds from the fire district's operating account.
"The (agent) was unable to locate transactions listed in any of the credit card statements that could be considered beneficial to the Platte County Rural Fire District 1F," the agent wrote.
Moede withdrew about $165,000 from the fire district's bank account to pay balances on credit cards, lines of credit at stores, and a direct deposit into his own bank account. He also wrote $72,100 in personal checks to himself from the fire district's bank account, according to the affidavit.