The St. Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department's secretary, who is also the fire chief's wife, has been arrested on allegations she embezzled nearly $60,000 from the department, according to Lake County prosecutors.
Annie Morigeau, 33, was booked into the Lake County Detention Facility on forgery and embezzlement charges, Deputy Lake County Attorney Ben Anciaux told the Missoulian on Monday.
The alleged embezzlement scheme spanned from December 2016 through last May, accumulating $59,801.16, Anciaux said.
Calls to the St. Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department Monday afternoon were not returned.
Morigeau had been serving as secretary for the department's auxiliary, but had taken on some treasurer duties although she was never elected to the position, Anciaux said. The previous treasurer had moved away sometime in 2017, he said.
Anciaux said there were two parts to the alleged scheme. Donations by check collected by the department through benefits and fundraisers were sometimes cashed by Morigeau but not deposited into the account. The checking account required two signatures, one being the treasurer's.
Two signatures, including the past treasurer's, were found on those checks after the former treasurer had moved away, Anciaux said.
The second part of alleged embezzlement came from a bank card from which department funds could be withdrawn. That card was used at a number of different places for things like meals and expenses that would not be typical expenses for the department, Anciaux said.
The total amount Morigeau is accused of embezzling involved expenses flagged as not justified by department officials, he said.
Morgieau's alleged conduct was uncovered earlier this year when members of the department board had to sign additional people onto the account because she stopped coming to meetings.
"Those people went through those figures and the account is when they discovered the discrepancies," Anciaux said.