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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sonoma County fire captain pleads guilty to embezzlement

 Calif. fire captain pleads guilty to embezzlement
Michael Bechtold stole money that other firefighters had paid to Rancho Adobe Firefighters Association for hockey tickets, Disneyland, divorce
PENNGROVE, Calif. — A captain with the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District in Sonoma County has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $63,000 from the firefighters union and using the money for San Jose Sharks season tickets, a trip to Disneyland and a divorce attorney, authorities said Tuesday.
Michael Bechtold, 39, of Rohnert Park stole money that other firefighters had paid to the Rancho Adobe Firefighters Association, where he was treasurer, said Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi.
Bechtold's downfall began when association board members asked him for financial reports. Bechtold delayed providing them and began to miss several regularly scheduled association meetings, said sheriff's Sgt. Michael Raasch.
When Bechtold finally supplied a report, "it became obvious that the report had been tampered with," Raasch said.
Authorities determined that Bechtold had forged and cashed several association checks, Raasch said. He spent the money on housing, the Sharks season tickets, a trip to Disneyland and to pay a divorce attorney and child support, authorities said.
At a hearing Monday, Superior Court Judge Ken Gnoss also found Bechtold guilty of a probation violation stemming from a 2009 misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.
Bechtold faces up to three years in jail, Ariyoshi said. California Fire News 2011 

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