The individuals allegedly attempted to fraudulently gain control of the equipment and assets of the fire department.
Left to right: Christopher See, Christopher Miller, Caitlyn Staat, Jacob Parker and Lewis Fritter. Photos provided.
(Switzerland County, Ind.) - Five people have been arrested on numerous theft related charges after a six-month investigation into theft from the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department.
Indiana State Police began the investigation in March after the individuals attempted to fraudulently gain control of the equipment and assets of the fire department which had not been operational since 2017 after then Fire Chief Gordon Turner, Jr. was indicted for embezzling over $28,000 for personal use.
Investigators determined that, on March 16, 2020, Christopher See, age 37, filed fraudulent paperwork with the State of Indiana to take control of the fire department. See, along with Christopher Miller, age 32, Caitlyn Staat, age 19, Jacob Parker, age 35, and Lewis Fritter, age 42 held a meeting without giving the proper public notice and without giving notice to the remaining members of the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department.
At the meeting, only attended by the five individuals, See was chosen to be president and Miller was chosen to be the new chief of the fire department. Parker was chosen as assistant chief and Staat was chosen to be the treasurer. The new officers were elected without following the existing by-laws of the PVFD.
The day following the meeting, See along with Miller, and Staat, went to First Financial Bank, where See allegedly used a PVFD letter and the business filings with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, to request bank officials change the signature cards for the PVDS accounts, giving See control of all monies for the PVFD.
They then gained access to the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department’s building which contained the department’s equipment.
All five suspects were arrested and charged on Monday. Each made their initial appearance in Switzerland County Circuit Court.
See is charged with Conspiracy to Defraud a Financial Institution, Conspiracy to Commit Theft (4 counts), Perjury (7 counts), and Official Misconduct.
Christopher Miller, Caitlyn Staat, Jacob Parker, and Lewis Fritter were all arrested on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud a Financial Institution, and Conspiracy to Commit Theft (4 counts).
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