MARION COUNTY, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2015) - The former Chief of the Speedway Fire Department, Mark Watson, according to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will plead guilty to criminal charges filed against him for allegedly stealing almost $60,000 of the town’s money.
The money was allegedly stolen over four years, and was used to purchase everything from a gun to a grill.
“It’s terrible… Here we are we can’t even trust the higher ups,” said one Speedway resident.
In a town known for things that go fast, court documents reveal a very slow and meticulous collection over four years of thousands of dollars by the town’s former Fire Chief.
Watson is charged with felony theft and felony official misconduct for stealing almost $60,000 from the town he worked for.
“When they take that office, they take it with an oath and with trust from the community and the people they serve and that’s not ethical, it’s not moral, and it’s certainly not serving the people well,” said another resident.
The former chief, according to court documents stored the stolen money in an account he’d set up at a fire fighters credit union. He’d allegedly used the money to pay off his cars, and credit cards, and to buy a TV, grill, and gun.
“A lot of the information were things that we had uncovered and had provided to the state but the totality of that report was pretty horrible and pretty shocking and disappointing for all of us,” said Ian Nicolini, Speedway’s Town Manager.
The charges come after a lengthy investigation by state police, and the state board of accounts.
Speedway Town officials are now reevaluating their policies to make sure a public official can never steal taxpayer cash again.
“Our clerk treasurer and I were both tasked with strengthening our financial management practices and those sorts of policies will flesh out a lot of these sorts of activities,” said Nicolini.
Watson was the Speedway fire chief for four years. He resigned in October 2014. He will appear in Marion County Criminal Court for a plea hearing later this month.