A trio of Iola, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) employees were recently found to have embezzled nearly $40,000 over a period of more than two years.
According to deputies with the Grimes County Sheriff's Office, suspicions were first piqued after an accounts payable audit revealed that IVFD funds had been used to make personal purchases.
Probable cause statements obtained by the news source indicate that department checks had been used at a number of retailers, including supermarket warehouse chain Sam's Club and craft store Michaels, KBTX-TV reports.
Former IVFD chief Earl Sword admitted he used some of the money to "put a new motor, A/C compress, brakes and front end work into his 1997 BMW," according to arrest reports quoted by the Bryan College Station Eagle.
Sword was recently arrested along with his mother, Wanda, who worked as the IVFD's accountant, and his sister, Samantha Kimich, who was employed as the department's secretary.
In cases when embezzlement is being conducted from a high level within an organization, it's advisable to bring in outside auditors or use AP audit software to uncover misappropriation.