A district judged granted a continuance Monday in the arraignment for the embezzlement case of former Inter-Canyon fire chief David MacBean.
Judge Jeffery Pilkington delayed the arraignment hearing until Jan. 27 after Dave Thomas, MacBean’s attorney, requested the continuance.
“At that time, I would expect either a disposition or a not-guilty plea,” Pilkington said.
Thomas said he requested additional time because of the significance and severity of the charges MacBean is facing.
MacBean is accused of stealing approximately $643,000 from the Morrison-based Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District. The charges, which surfaced in mid-October, include three counts of theft of $20,000 or more and three counts of embezzlement of public property, both felonies.
MacBean served as Inter-Canyon’s unpaid chief from 2009 to March 2013. According to the indictment, the former chief is alleged to have made unauthorized purchases using the district’s credit cards and bank accounts totaling approximately $643,000 since 2010.
Inter-Canyon’s yearly budget is approximately $900,000.
In January, an audit revealed the missing funds and triggered an investigation, and MacBean was placed on administrative leave. Randy Simpson was hired as interim chief and was asked to stay on in March when MacBean was dismissed. Inter-Canyon’s board asked former treasurer Roy Crawford to resign that same month, which he did.
DA’s spokeswoman Pam Russell said MacBean was arrested Oct. 16, and, after posting $40,000 bail, was released from jail Oct. 17.
On Nov. 13, more than 30 citizens attended Inter-Canyon’s monthly board meeting and demanded answers. Since the allegations surfaced in mid-October, officials with Inter-Canyon have withheld most information, saying the ongoing investigation requires discretion.
“We are committed as a board to lead the community through these difficult times,” board President Michael Reddy said at the November meeting.
New board Treasurer Karl Firor said the money was stolen from the district’s reserve funds and that the district’s operating funds weren’t affected. He said the district’s reserve funds had been “decimated.”
Inter-Canyon was able to recover $100,000 from its insurance policy through the Special District Association of Colorado.
Since the allegations, new financial policies have been put in place at Inter-Canyon, said Daniel Hatlestad, firefighter and paramedic. The district will no longer issue credit cards to staff or board members, and the board has implemented a new purchase-approval policy.
The next Inter-Canyon board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Inter-Canyon Station 1, 7939 S. Turkey Creek Road.
For more information, visit www.intercanyonfire.org.