Press-Republican

Police, Fire, Courts

January 24, 2013

AuSable Forks fire chief charged with theft

AuSABLE FORKS — AuSable Forks Fire Chief and Treasurer Jason F. Whisher was arrested Wednesday on charges of forgery and grand larceny.

“He is accused of stealing an excess of $3,000 from the Fire Department’s accounts,” said State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.

Whisher, 32, of AuSable Forks was charged with second-degree forgery and third-degree grand larceny, both felonies, stemming from the alleged larceny of funds and forgery of checks.

“The complaint was brought to our attention by members of the Fire Department,” on Jan. 18, LaFountain said.

Essex County Assistant District Attorney Brian Felton was consulted throughout the investigation, he said.

Whisher was arraigned in the Wilmington Town Court before Town Justice Robert Kirby.

The firefighter was released on his own recognizance and ordered to reappear in Jay Town Court on Monday.

“It had nothing to do with the department’s ability to provide the service that they provide,” said AuSable Forks attorney James Martineau, who represents the Fire Department, told the Press-Republican before the arrest.

“They’re still up and going and are able to protect the people and property of the district.”

Martineau also stressed that the money in question is not from taxpayers, as the tax levy supporting the Fire Department is held in a separate fund.

The money was raised from benefits and donations to department, he said. 

Whisher was removed from his post, and First Assistant Chief Michael Lincoln has been promoted to chief.

Whisher could not be reached Wednesday.

Email Felicia Krieg: fkrieg@pressrepublican.com

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