Press Release Ohio Auditor of State

Crestline Fire Chief Pleads Guilty to Theft in Office, Tampering with Records

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

COLUMBUS — The chief of the Crestline Fire Department pleaded guilty Monday to two criminal charges after investigators determined he previously worked full-time jobs for multiple public agencies simultaneously, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Matthew Wells admitted to felony counts of tampering with records and theft in office during a hearing in Richland County Common Pleas Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

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 claimed the same work hours for two agencies.

As part of a plea deal, Wells will pay total restitution and audits costs of $26,384. He will also be barred from public sector employment.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 120 convictions resulting in more than $8.3 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. 

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac