Former fire department official heading to prison for $5M theft

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WHITE PLAINS – A former treasurer of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department was sentenced in White Plains federal court on Wednesday to six years and five months in prison for embezzling over $5.6 million from the department.
Michael Klein, 49, of Mahopac was charged with wire fraud, subscription
to false tax returns, obstruction of the grand jury, and false statement
charges arising out of the thefts that occurred over a 13-year period. 
Klein wrote checks with the embezzled funds to his two businesses and
then deposited the checks in his bank accounts. He entered the checks
into the fire department books as having been made payable to various
vendors other than his two companies.
To satisfy auditors, he prepared several false invoices to match the entries in his fire department books.
Klein stole the money by writing more than 275 checks and used the money
to buy, among other things, a 37-foot Thunderbird Formula boat; a 29-foot
Everglades boat; a 55-foot Neptunus motor yacht;” a second residence
in Palm City, Florida; a 2010 Mercedes-Benz S550; a 2008 Jeep Liberty;
and an antique fire truck.  He also went on what appears to be a
Caribbean vacation and made $38,658 worth of jewelry and cruise purchases
within two weeks. He also used the stolen money to support his two private
businesses.           

When law enforcement discovered Klein’s embezzlement in September 2015, he obstructed the grand jury’s investigation by making false statements about his finances and by concealing and dissipating assets. He gave the proceeds of some of the items he bought after selling them to relatives to pay his bills.
On March 7 of this year, Klein pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries up to 20 years in prison, six counts of subscribing to false tax returns, each of which carries up to three years in prison; one count of obstructing the grand jury’s investigation, which carries up to 20 years in prison; and one count of making false statements to the US Attorney, which carries up to five years in prison.
In addition to the prison term, Klein, who also has an address in Palm City, Florida, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit close to $5.7 million in ill-gotten gains as well as various assets, including his Florida home. He was also ordered to pay restitution of over $5.6 million.