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New Crestline Fire Chief Indicted for Theft in Office
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – The Richland County Grand Jury returned an indictment Wednesday against the new chief of the Crestline Fire Department after investigators determined he was working full-time jobs for multiple public agencies simultaneously, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.
Matthew Wells faces felony counts of grand theft, theft in office, and tampering with records and a misdemeanor count of representation by a public official or employee.
The alleged theft was uncovered during an investigation by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which received a complaint that Wells was being paid by two public entities for the same hours worked.
SIU determined Wells was employed by the Ohio Department of Education, the Springfield Township Fire Department in Richland County and the Pleasant Township Fire Department in Marion County and, at times, either claimed the same work hours for two agencies or used paid leave, including sick leave, from one while working for another.
The total alleged theft amount is $60,060.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 117 convictions resulting in more than $8.2 million in restitution (see?Map of SIU Convictions?since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.
Contact: Marc Kovac