The former fire chief of two districts is headed to prison after admitting to fraud, tax evasion, and stealing nearly $600,000 from his departments.
Eric Hinson will spend 35 months in federal prison and repay over $600,000. Hinson used fire district credit cards to pay for family vacations to Hawaii and Florida and business checks to pay for personal expenses. The investigation into the spending revealed he altered the fire department's books to cover up his theft.
One week after Bobbie Billups disappeared into the Mississippi River, the St. Louis Fire Department found his body.
Billups was fishing under the Merchants Bridge in downtown when he went to get something out of his car. While he was inside the car, it rolled in the river. Witnesses say Billups got out of the car, but he could not swim to the shore and bystanders could not rescue him.
Billups was 54 years old.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area fire chief is facing federal indictment for allegedly stealing more than $140,000 in money from the impoverished fire district.
The indictment of Kinloch Fire Protection District chief Darran Kelley was announced Thursday. Federal prosecutors allege he stole money from taxes, grant funds intended for a new pumper truck and donations that were aimed at helping the district keep the truck.
He is also accused of falsely claiming disability.
The district went out of service in December.
Kelley appeared in federal court late Thursday and was ordered to spend the night in jail.
Eric Hinson pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sentencing is May 2.
Hinson admitted stealing the money from January 2006 through September 2011. He took cash advances on a district credit card and used the card for family vacations in Florida and Hawaii and to pay for personal purchases. He altered records to hide the theft.
Hinson started as a volunteer firefighter in 1985. He became chief in January 2011 and was paid about $25,000 annually for the part-time job.
He became chief in the St. Louis County town of Ladue in July 2011 but resigned two months later amid the St. Clair investigation