MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- Michael Klein, the former treasurer of the Mahopac Fire Department, pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $5.7 million from the department and failing to report the income to the IRS.
Klein, of Mahopac and Palm City, Florida, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and six counts of subscribing to false tax returns, each of which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
“Michael Klein repaid the trust his fellow volunteer firefighters placed in him by allegedly stealing $5.7 million of their money over a period of more than 13 years as their elected treasurer," Bharara said.
According to Bharara, Klein lavished the embezzled money on himself, buying yachts, jewelry, and a second home in Florida, and then failed to report any of it on his tax returns.
Klein embezzled the money by writing more than 275 checks over a period of more than 13 years, Bharara said.
The 48-year-old, who was elected treasurer in 2001, embezzled MVFD funds under his control by writing checks to the two businesses he owned, Abbie Graphic Services, Ltd. and Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp. from about January 2002 to about September 2015, Bharara said.
Klein then deposited the checks to bank accounts held by Abbie Graphics or BEEC and entered these checks into the MVFD’s books as having been made payable to various vendors, other than Abbie Graphics or BEEC, that sold firefighting equipment or services used by fire departments, according to Bharara.
To date, the Fire Department has been reimbursed $1 million through its insurance bond. As part of his guilty plea, he will have to repay the $5.7 million — $4.7 million still owed to the department and the $1 million owed to the insurance company.