Emergency services trainer charged with theft

May 28, 2009 8:23:39 AM PDT
A man who was supposed to be helping Montgomery County police and firefighters now stands accused of stealing from them.54-year-old Robert Linsinbigler stands charged with stealing fire and police training money he was entrusted to manage.

He is accused of siphoning $168,000 from the Montgomery County Chiefs of Police Association account that pays for emergency driver training and an account that funds training for 93 fire companies.

Linsinbigler was the director of the county's public safety campus until fired in February.

He allegedly used the money to write seventy-nine $1500 checks for his mortgage, to pay a home equity loan and for various personal expenses.

"He would make the checks payable to his home mortgage company. He would forge the names of the authorized signers and would submit for payment to his mortgage company," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Linsinbigler, who began his career with the county in the 1970's as a prison guard, took over the public safety training campus and the police chiefs fund in the 1980's.

In the 1990's, the county took over the once voluntary training, but not control of the account. The times changed, but apparently the accounting system that lacked oversight did not.

"It's just a sign of the times, I guess. You can no longer trust anyone like that. You have to have checks and balances, obviously," said Randall Hummel of the Montgomery County Chiefs of Police Association.

All told, Linsinbigler faces hundreds of felony charges, some carrying 20 year prison terms.

Officials say the alleged embezzlement did not compromise training programs.

Bail was set a $100,000 cash, unless Linsinbigler agrees to go into rehab. In that case, he could pay 10% or $10,000 and be released.

A law enforcement source says he has a problem with alcohol.

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