Portsmouth Firefighter Admits to Stealing from Union

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A former Portsmouth Fire Department firefighter pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing nearly $30,000 from a firefighting union.

Eric C. Wallace was the treasurer of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 512 in 2006 when money began disappearing from accounts.

He pleaded guilty to one count of theft and two counts of forgery.

Some of the money stolen from the union was from MDA donations collected from boot drives, and the fear now is that people will stop trusting the fire department because of the actions of one person.

"My fear is that people will be afraid to donate to us anymore," said Tony Hamilton, the current president of Local 512. "I mean, the money is for muscular dystrophy. We just hope that people don't look at this and say we can't donate anymore, we can't trust you".

Prosecution has proposed 60 days in jail for Wallace, in addition to having to pay back the money.

Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn says he is pleased with the outcome.

"We wanted him to go to jail for what he had done," Kuhn said. "We wanted him convicted of felonies and, three, we want to see restitution for the firefighter's union".

Kuhn says Wallace had started paying back the money before it was discovered missing. On Wednesday, Wallace handed over a check to the Local Union for more than $15,000.

Sentencing for Wallace is set at 9 a.m. Aug. 16.

This article was contributed by WSAZ Television in Huntington, WV.