SELKIRK, N.Y. — A Selkirk woman accused of stealing thousands from a local fire department was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation.
Heather Lynn Burns, 38, of Selkirk, was arrested in February on charges of allegedly stealing over $18,000 from Selkirk Fire Department’s Station #3 account that she was responsible for from January 2012 to October of 2013. Part of her sentencing also requires her to pay $18,644.88 in restitution.
“My client is just glad to have this matter behind her. She’s satisfied with the resolution because it allows her to be home with her children and carry on with the rest of her life,” said her attorney Erin Gee.
Sheriff’s Investigators conducted a three month long investigation which led to the discovery of over forty unauthorized transactions from the fire department’s 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, and direct web payments to credit cards, utility companies, and insurance carriers.
The court also ruled that Burns would make payments during her five years of probation, but her attorney said it would not take her that long to pay the restitution.
“My client does feel she’ll be able to satisfy that obligation and pay it back much sooner than that,” said Gee.
Tara Calhoun of Delmar said she Burns’ sentence was a slap on the wrist and says unfortunately a crime of this nature isn’t unheard of.
“You hear a story like this every year. People who are treasurers for different companies or organizations. You always have the rotten egg that just ends up doing something stupid,” said Calhoun.
Chris Scotto Di Carlo, Albany resident, said he believes Heather should have received jail time.
“18,000 isn’t a small chunk of change. It’s not just something you find on the side of the road. The fact that people worked really hard to gather all that money, it’s definitely too little to me,” said Di Carlo.
The Albany County District Attorney’s office said if Burns’ does not pay the restitution, she would be in violation of her probation and then it would be under the judge’s discretion to give her further punishment.