Former Inter-Canyon volunteer fire chief indicted in embezzlement of $643,000 from fire district

David Roy MacBean charged in indictment

GOLDEN, Colo. - A Jefferson County grand jury has returned a six-count indictment accusing the former volunteer fire chief of the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District of stealing approximately $643,000 in public funds from the district.

The indictment accuses David Roy MacBean, 41, of three counts of theft of $20,000 or more and three counts of embezzlement of public property, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Between January 2010 and March 2013, MacBean is alleged to have made unauthorized purchases in the amount of approximately $643,000 using the district’s credit card and bank accounts.

7NEWS met MacBean in April 2012 during the Lower North Fork fire. He talked about his firefighters making attempts to conduct door-to-door evacuations.

During that same time, the indictment accuses MacBean of making purchases with taxpayer funds for his personal use.

As volunteer fire chief, MacBean was responsible for the overall supervision of operations for the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District, subject to the direction of the board of directors. This included the operation of the fire department, hiring and managing of staff and assisting in preparing the annual budget. According to Deputy Chief Dan Hatlestad, the department has a yearly budget of $900,000.

"On a day-to-day basis, we need every dollar we have," said Hatlestad. "The amount in question is actually, probably two fire trucks."

According to the indictment, MacBean made numerous purchases through PayPal, Amazon.com, at Big R and various other retail merchants.

On Amazon, MacBean is accused of spending $302,000. Through PayPal, the Grand Jury found $16,000 in unauthorized personal purchases for just two months of the three years, although the Grand Jury suspects the amount could be as much as $230,000. At Big R in Conifer, he's accused of spending $24,000 on guns and ammunition.

"We're angry. We're frustrated. We're saddened," said Hatlestad. "The former chief was considered by many to be, not just a leader of our fire district, but a personal friend as well."

In March, 2013, members of the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District board contacted the District Attorney’s Office regarding possible unauthorized use of district funds. Hatlestad said the investigation was triggered by the district's audit after a transfer of responsibilities to a new district treasurer. Investigators from the District Attorney’s office and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation which was presented to the Grand Jury. The indictment was signed by the court on Tuesday.

"He had authorization to actually dispense funds. It took a while to actually understand and detect that there was possible criminal activity," said Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir.

MacBean will appear in court on Dec. 2.

Created in 1956, the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District serves 52 square miles in the foothills southwest of Denver. With a roster of 50 active firefighters, the department operates 15 pieces of apparatus at five stations throughout the district.

The Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District is funded by mill levy property taxes in the district.