Janesville29.3°

Former fire chief denies theft charge stemming from misuse of town's credit card

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Kayla Bunge
Ted Sullivan
August 8, 2008
— The former town of Lyons fire chief accused of using the fire departmentís credit card to buy gas for his personal vehicle pleaded not guilty Thursday to misdemeanor theft.

Craig A. Amann, 34, of 2400 N. Arizona Ave., No. 1052, Chandler, Ariz., remains free on a $200 cash and $5,000 signature bond after appearing in Walworth County Court.


If convicted, Amann faces up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.


According to the criminal complaint, the townís treasurer was reviewing bills and discovered an $80 gas purchase June 12 without the fire departmentís approval.


The town learned from the credit card company that the gas was bought at the Lyons Shell gas station, according to the criminal complaint.


Video surveillance at the gas station showed a man suspected of being Amann using the credit card to fill his own personal vehicle with gas, according to the criminal complaint.


The assistant fire chief told police no one had permission to use the townís credit card to pay for personal purchases, according to the criminal complaint.


Investigators went to the Como Inn, N3461 County H, in Geneva Township July 31 and talked to Amann.


Amann initially denied using the credit card, according to the criminal complaint.


Once investigators confronted Amann with their video evidence, he claimed he had used the credit card because he had driven his personal vehicle on fire calls, according to the criminal complaint.


According to town policy, a firefighter can be reimbursed $8 for using a personal vehicle on a call, but the person must submit a request for reimbursement.


Amann was arrested and placed in jail, according to the criminal complaint.


He posted bail and was released July 31.


In court Thursday, Amannís attorney, John Olson, told the judge his client understood the charge and its maximum penalty. He also waived Amannís right to a speedy trial.


Judge James Carlson ordered Amann not to contact anyone at the fire department.


Amannís next court hearing is Sept. 12 at 8:15 a.m.



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