Volunteer treasurer pleads guilty to stealing $421,000 from Lakeside Fire and Rescue Co.

Monroe. Ian Harriton’s ability to repay the stolen funds will be a factor when he is sentenced in July.

| 07 Feb 2023 | 08:48

A former volunteer treasurer for the Lakeside Fire and Rescue Company in Monroe has pleaded guilty to stealing $421,000 from the company.

Ian D. Harriton, listed as 28 years old from of the town of Monroe at the time of his arrest last January by State Police, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, falsifying business records and second-degree forgery, all felonies.

According to information from the Orange County District Attorney’s office, as alleged in documents filed in court and in statements made in court, Harriton had been the treasurer of the Lakeside Fire and Rescue Company for three years by the time he was charged with the larceny.

The District Attorney’s Office said the crime was discovered by a newly elected president of the fire company who found bills Harriton was supposed to pay were late. An audit confirmed the loss of money.

The prosecutor’s office also indicated that Harriton made certain admissions to members of the fire company that, in sum and substance, he had taken in excess of $400,000.

Harriton was released on his own recognizance and his ability to repay the stolen money will be one of the factors considered by the court at the time of sentencing.

He faces up to 15 years in state prison.

At the time of his arrest, state police said an investigation found that Harriton stole the money for personal use. Neither state police nor the Orange County District Attorney’s Office could provide any information on how Harriton spent the money.

That remains true today.

Unanswered questions

There are other questions that remain unanswered.

For instance, what were the sources of the $421,000 that was stolen? In all likelihood, the funds were from tax revenues as well as private fund raising and donations.

But what equipment didn’t get purchased? What kind of training was lost for the fire company’s volunteer firefighters?

How was Harriton able to maintain the scam for so long?

Was he also a firefighter?

How did Harriton get the position?

One of three

Lakeside is one of three fire companies that merged in 2011 to form the Monroe Joint Fire District, along with Mombasha and Harriman fire company.

In an email exchange with The Photo News, Kathleen Aherne, the secretary of the Monroe Joint Fire District, offered the following comment: “Ian Harriton did not take any Monroe Joint Fire District funds and beyond that the District has no comment.”

A telephone message seeking comment from the Lakeside Fire and Rescue Company was not returned by the time The Photo News went to press.