The former chief of the Olney Fire Department has denied allegations that he stole $51,000 over four years.
Kenneth Morehead, 48, pleaded not guilty to felony theft on Dec. 1 in Flathead County District Court. He is scheduled to stand trial in May 2017.
According to court records, Flathead County Finance Director Sandra Carlson contacted the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office in July after discovering the rural fire department had a negative balance. An audit of the account found that Morehead had allegedly used the account to fund personal purchases between 2012 and 2016. As county officials dug deeper into the record books, 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 this summer from both his position as the volunteer fire district’s chief and as a member of the board of trustees that oversees the district, which is funded through county tax dollars.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.