Ohio Responder under Investigation over Missing Money - News - @ JEMS.com

Ohio Responder under Investigation over Missing Money

The money was taken from the department's training fund


Lucas Sullivan, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | | Monday, July 9, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A Columbus fire captain is the subject of a criminal investigation into about $5,000 in cash missing from a department training fund.

John C. Wilt, a 27-year veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative duty pending a police investigation that has been turned over to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien for possible criminal prosecution.

Authorities said the investigation centers on fees paid by local churches, schools and businesses to the fire department this year for CPR training. Investigators handling the case said it's likely that additional money is missing from previous years, but they do not have a handle on how much.

Wilt was questioned by supervisors in late March about missing funds, and during the interview, he said he had about $1,500 in cash at home, investigators said. Wilt returned the cash and told investigators that he had been keeping it until his supervisor, Battalion Chief Robert Babb, returned from vacation so it would not get misplaced.

Wilt's attorney, Brad Barbin, said his client is being made a scapegoat because of sloppy accounting in the department.

"This is a military-style organization, and when the process and hierarchy break down, it's a serious problem with leadership," Barbin said.

"My client is an honest man who is a good employee of the city's fire service for 27 years, and I won't allow him to be a scapegoat for a management problem."

Wilt's personnel file shows a career filled with commendations for job performance and numerous training programs he developed. Wilt was also the architect of the CPR training program, which started in 2001.

Investigators said firefighters would have trainees sign an attendance sheet; then, they would hand the trainees a receipt for the cost of the CPR classes, which ranged from $10 to $40 a person, depending on materials needed.

Firefighters did not keep copies of the receipts, investigators said, and many of the attendance sheets were incomplete or missing last names.

The firefighters teaching the class separated the checks from the cash and gave the envelopes to a lieutenant, who then turned the envelopes over to Wilt. The checks were deposited, but the department's internal investigation found that some of the cash was missing.

Wilt, 51, of Powell, told investigators that he routinely gave the cash collected at the classes to Babb, authorities said. Babb, who has told investigators that he never received the cash, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

"Right now, the investigation is still ongoing, and we are waiting to see what comes back from the police investigation, and that's all we can say at this point," Battalion Chief Mike Fowler said.

O'Brien said his office probably will decide in the next few weeks whether to pursue criminal charges.

"We are still talking to numerous people and trying to get answers to many questions," he said.

Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, investigation, missing money

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tempe’s Drug Dilemma

Dealing with overdoses.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

I’m a Paramedic

Profile of a Northshore LIJ medic.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Riding with Busy Welsh Ambulances

EMS crews struggle under mounting pressures.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Albuquerque Unveils New Rescue Unit

Mayor and residents celebrate new ambulance.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Cincinnati Overpass Collapse

Fatal pancake collapse occurs during demolition.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

More Product Videos >