WRAL Investigates

Embezzlement from Garner fire department results in prison time

Posted March 28, 2011 3:57 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2011 4:15 p.m. EDT

— A former employee of the Garner Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department pleaded guilty Monday to taking nearly $400,000 from the department.

Amy McKinley Moore, 43, of 6821 Stevens Oaks Drive in Garner, pleaded guilty to obtaining property by false pretense in excess of $100,000. She was sentenced to 44 to 62 months in prison.

An outside audit discovered money missing from the fire department in January 2010. Town officials asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the discrepancy, and agents found that Moore wrote hundreds of checks to herself over a seven-year period.

She worked for the department for a decade as the administrative assistant who handled the fire department's books, and she abruptly resigned as the SBI launched its investigation. Her husband, David Moore, is a detective with the Raleigh Police Department.

Amy Moore paid $39,733 in restitution to the fire department during her court hearing Monday. Prosecutors said the department plans to sue her to obtain the rest of the stolen money, which amounts to $342,466.

Although the majority of the fire department's funding comes from Garner and Wake County, the department is operated as a nonprofit organization and run by an independent board of directors.

The board last year took steps to shore up internal controls over the department's finances, including reviewing all canceled checks at each monthly meeting. Also, bookkeeping for the department was turned over to the outside company that conducted the annual audits, and a new internal auditor was brought in.

Under the terms of the fire department's latest contract with Garner, the town appoints three members of the department’s six-member board. The board also makes quarterly reports to the Town Council and conducts more frequent audits.