Former Selkirk FD treasurer sentenced to 5 years probation

The former treasurer of the Selkirk Fire Department’s House No. 3 has been sentenced following the theft of more than $18,000 from a fire department savings/checking account.

Heather Burns, 39, of Selkirk, was sentenced to five years of felony probation on Thursday, July 10. She was ordered to pay full restitution to the Selkirk Fire Department in the amount of $18,644.88 for thefts that took place between July 14, 2012 and Oct. 2, 2013, when Burns was acting as the department's treasurer.

She pleaded guilty on May 8 to one count of grand larceny.

Burns was arrested on Feb. 7, following an investigation by members of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards Unit. As the former treasurer of Selkirk Fire Department’s House No. 3, she was responsible for accounts from January 2012 to October of 2013. Officials said the case originated when the fire department discovered unauthorized direct payments to a cellular telephone company from their checking/savings account.

Investigators conducted a three-month investigation, which led to the discovery of more than 40 unauthorized transactions from the fire department’s checking/savings account over the past two years. The unauthorized transactions consisted of money transfers, checks written to cash, checks written out to Heather Burns, cash withdrawals, direct web payments to credit cards, utility companies and insurance carriers.

The Selkirk Fire Department and Selkirk Fire District said the money was raised by the company and not taxpayer funds.

"The Selkirk Fire Department is a close-knit family, and we are all saddened by the actions of one individual. The impact of those actions not only effect the members of the department but the members of the South Bethlehem Community,” said Chairman Charles Wickham of the Selkirk Fire District at the time of Burns’ arrest.

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