The former chief of the Olney Fire Department was give a six-year suspended sentence to the Department of Corrections for stealing more than $26,000 from the department over the course of five years.
Kenneth Morehead was sentenced in Flathead County District Court on Aug. 10, a year after he was charged with felony theft. Morehead was also give a six-month suspended sentence to the county jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor bail jumping for failing to appear at a pre-trial conference earlier this year.
Morehead will have to pay $26,911.61 in restitution.
Prior to being sentenced, Morehead apologized for his actions.
According to court records, Flathead County Finance Director Sandra Carlson contacted the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office in July 2016 after finding that the Olney Fire Department had a negative balance. An audit of the account found that Morehead had used the account to fund personal purchases between 2012 and 2016. As county officials dug deeper into the records, they discovered that tens of thousands of dollars had been spent at local auto-parts businesses and grocery markets with little or no documentation.
A few days later, a sheriff’s deputy interviewed Morehead who allegedly admitted to using the fire department’s account for personal purposes.
In light of the allegations, Morehead stepped down from both his position as the volunteer fire district’s chief and as a member of the board of trustees overseeing the district, which is funded through county tax dollars.