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Former Fire Chief Pleads Guilty In Charity Theft Case

The former chief of the McMahan Fire Department has admitted to taking some $200,000 collected for the Crusade for Children.Under a plea agreement announced today, Paul Barth faces a recommended sentence of three years and five months in prison for mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.He must also pay $190,000 in restitution to the crusade and more than $8,000 to the McMahan Fire District.Barth has been under federal indictment for more than two years, accused of using crusade donations to pay off personal purchases made on a fire department credit card.The 55 year old Barth resigned as McMahan fire chief and was removed as chairman of the Crusade for Children in early 2010.More than half of the charitable organization’s donations are collected by firefighters across the region.Formal sentencing is scheduled for October 4 in U.S. District Court. 

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.