Feds: CT fire chief stole money from his department

The chief of a volunteer fire department in Connecticut has been charged by federal officials with embezzling more than $70,000 from the department to pay for personal and business expenses.

Paul Perrotti, 47, of Middlebury was charged with three counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Perrotti is the fire chief for the town of Middlebury.

The indictment was made by a federal grand jury in New Haven. Perrotti was arrested at his residence on Nov. 6 and was released on a $250,000 bond after making an appearance in Bridgeport federal court.

Been fire chief since 1997

According to the indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut, Perrotti has been the fire chief of the Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) since 1997. He also is a licensed electrical contractor and, since approximately 2010, has operated Paul Perrotti Electric LLC (PPE).

The indictment alleges that between 2011 and 2013, Perrotti used MVFD operating accounts to pay for unauthorized personal expenses and for expenses associated with PPE.

These payments allegedly included checks paid directly to Perrotti, checks paid directly to PPE, checks made directly payable to employees of PPE, checks made to various vendors of PPE for PPE-related supplies, and checks made to reimburse third parties for personal loans owed by Perrotti.

Feds: Misused credit card, false invoices

Prosecutors said Perrotti also submitted invoices to the town of Middlebury for expenses that he falsely claimed were incurred by MVFD but, in fact, were expenses related to the business of PPE, including bills for various vendors of PPE.

The indictment further alleges that Perrotti opened a Home Depot credit card account in the name of the MVFD and used it to purchase items related to his business, including electrical wires, breakers and wire. In addition, he allegedly used an MVFD debit card to withdraw cash for himself and to make purchases not related to the MVFD, including for food and gas.

In total, it is alleged that Perrotti embezzled more than $70,000 from the MVFD.

Could face time in jail

The charge of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Karwan. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in Bridgeport.