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NEWS

From the Office of the New York State Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli
Contact: Kate Gurnett 518-474-4015

For release: Immediately, November 17, 2015

DiNAPOLI: FIRE CHIEF CHARGED IN ALLEGED $2,700 GASOLINE


THEFT
Audit Reveals Glaring Lack of Oversight
Pennellville Volunteer Firemans Association (VFA) Fire Chief Duane Royal was charged with grand
larceny Sunday for allegedly stealing gas from the fire association for his private use, according to an
audit and investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Once again we see another alleged crime that was easily prevented by proper oversight, DiNapoli
said. This VFA never followed the money. Unfortunately, their handsoff approach led to serious
problems. By partnering with the New York State Police and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory
Oakes, we are holding this fire chief accountable.
Royal, 54, admitted to DiNapolis staff and the New York State Police that he gassed up at the VFA pump
and used his chiefs truck for his personal business as a process server. He was charged with grand
larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony. DiNapolis staff also found that Royal was suspended for a
month after selling the VFA truck for $3,000 without informing his colleagues.
The Comptrollers audit concluded that the Pennellville VFA failed to account for cash disbursements, that
the treasurer lacked cash receipts for 261 deposits totaling $134,882, and that board members could not
say whether music event-fundraisers benefitted the VFA due to the lack of treasurer reports for four such
events.

DiNapoli made 16 recommendations to the VFA board and Treasurer, including:


Strengthen internal controls with specific guidance for cash receipts and disbursements;
Train the treasurer to adequately perform his or her duties and require monthly reports on financial
transactions;
Strengthen fuel purchase controls; and
Maintain detailed financial records related to cash transactions, fundraising events and loans to
members.
VFA officials agreed with the Comptrollers audit findings and stated that most have been implemented.
Their response is included in the final audit report, which can be viewed here:
http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/firedists/2015/pennellville.pdf
Statewide, DiNapolis audits and investigations have led to more than 100 arrests and $20 million in
money recovered since 2011. Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public
corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations
of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a

complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State


Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236. Review prior cases
at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations/index.htm.
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