Theft charge levied against deputy chief

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted July 01, 2009, at 8:35 p.m.

ISLAND FALLS, Maine — The deputy chief of the Island Falls Fire Department has been charged with felony theft after allegedly misappropriating about $10,000 in town funds.

Maine State Police Lt. Darrell Ouellette said Wednesday that Paul Breton II, 26, was arrested and charged Friday with Class B theft.

Breton, whose address is listed as Oakfield, has been the assistant fire chief for two years, Joshua McNally, fire chief and ambulance director for the town, said Wednesday afternoon. Breton also is a paramedic with the town’s ambulance department.

Ouellette said he could not discuss all of the details of the case because the investigation is active, but gave some information about the alleged theft.

“[Breton] presented receipts for purchases he had made from various businesses for reimbursement from the town, and they were not related to the department,” Ouellette said. “They had nothing to do with the department.”

The lieutenant said police were made aware of Breton’s alleged activities by the town’s Board of Selectmen.

Ouellette said investigators believe that some of the invoices in question may date to 2007.

He added that Breton has been cooperating with investigators and has said he misappropriated funds.

“He has been cooperating and has returned some property back to the town,” said Ouellette. “We are still trying to come up with a final figure regarding how much is missing.”

McNally said Wednesday the department had “no idea” about what was going on until three weeks ago. He said selectmen initially placed Breton on paid administrative leave through this week, pending another meeting that could take place next week.

Town Clerk Cheryl McNally was unavailable for comment Wednesday, and the status of Breton’s employment could not be verified.

According to Josh McNally, the entire department was “shocked” by the allegations.

“This is a huge blow to us,” he said Wednesday. “Paul was a valuable member of the department and a friend to all of us. We feel shame and we hope that we can regain the taxpayers’ trust. Everyone here feels so horrible about this.”

Ouellette said Breton is out on bail. Breton could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Maine State Police Trooper Tim Saucier is investigating the incident.

If convicted of Class B theft, Breton could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/07/01/news/aroostook/theft-charge-levied-against-deputy-chief/ printed on September 18, 2014