2 former Falls Twp. Fire Co. presidents charged with theft from organization

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Falls Township Fire Co. presidents charged with stealing funds: as seen on Action News at 11 p.m., July 16, 2018 (WPVI)

Two former presidents of Falls Township Fire Company #1 were charged Monday with stealing more than $46,000 from the volunteer organization.

Christopher J. Carlin, 48, who served as president in 2017 and treasurer before that, is accused of taking nearly $35,000.

His predecessor, Gary Margerum, 61, president from 2009-2016, is charged with stealing more than $11,000.

Both face charges of theft by unlawful taking, a felony of the third degree. They were arraigned by video before Magisterial District Judge Jan Vislosky of Fallsington, who set bail at $50,000 unsecured for both.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 25 before Vislosky.

According to court documents, Carlin's thefts happened from mid-March 2013 through mid-August 2017. He was removed as a fire company member in December 2017.

Margerum is accused of thefts from September 2013 through September 2016, shortly before he resigned in October 2016.

A probable cause affidavit states that Margerum made personal, unauthorized purchases with two fire company credit cards and, with Carlin, co-signed a withdrawal slip for $3,035 from the fire company's bank account. That money was used to rent a house at the Jersey Shore, the affidavit said.

In addition to the withdrawal, Carlin is accused of making nearly $25,000 in unauthorized purchases with the fire company's Visa card, and receiving more than $8,000 in unauthorized fire company checks issued directly to him, the affidavit said.

As officers of the fire company, Carlin and Margerum "had access to, and control over, the fire company's financial accounts and their respective instruments," the affidavit stated. "Therefore, Carlin and Margerum had a fiduciary responsibility to ensure these funds were only used for authorized fire company expenses."

Financial irregularities were first spotted by an accountant the fire company had hired to perform an unrelated task, the affidavit said.

Fire company members reviewed the company's financial accounts at First National Bank and Trust of Newtown, identified the alleged thefts and contacted Bucks County Detectives, the affidavit said.

The case was investigated by Bucks County Detective Eric Landamia and has been assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, chief of the economic crimes/insurance fraud division.

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