Former local fire chief accused of taking department money

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 10 at 10:00 AM

(KMOV.com) - A former fire chief in St. Clair, MO is now facing an indictment over misusing over half a million dollars in department money.

Eric Hinson is accused of taking $593,236 from January 2006 to September 2011.  The indictment says Hinson used the money for a variety of things including vacations in Hawaii and Florida, tickets to Six Flags, payments for a pick-up truck, and furniture at Macy’s.

"He took it for family vacations, luxury goods, credit card charges," said U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan. “Basically each year between $100,000 and $130,000 was taken from the fire district.”

Prosecutors say the amount of money stolen was enough to buy the St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department a brand new fire truck.

Hinson was also fire chief in Ladue, but prosecutors say the charges are not connected to the Ladue department.

"In the more rural areas where volunteer departments are the backbone of the community,  I think this hurts more,” Callahan said. “I don't want to judge human motivations but I know a lot of volunteer fire people and I think they would take this hard.”

Hinson’s attorney says the indictment contradicts Hinson’s decades of service.

 

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