MIAMI COUNTY — On Wednesday, the former treasurer of the Ludlow Falls Volunteer Fire Department, indicted on felony theft in office charges, was arraigned in Miami County Common Pleas.
Robert Smith Jr., 67, of Ludlow Falls, was arraigned on third-degree felony theft of funds in office. He appeared with his defense attorney Steve King by summons and was granted an own recognizance bond. Smith entered a plea of not guilty and a pre-trial conference was set for Jan. 29.
The alleged total loss of funds is estimated by the Detective Division of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office is approximately $192,236.
On Oct. 26, 2019, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation of Smith’s alleged misconduct regarding the Ludlow Falls Volunteer Fire Department’s funds. It was noted Smith has been the fire department’s secretary of treasure for 30 years.
According to the sheriff’s reports, a Ludlow Falls Fire Department officer was contacted by the department’s bank regarding suspicious activity regarding its checking account. A search warrant was obtained and Smith was interviewed by detectives on Oct. 29. His home and vehicle were also searched due to the department’s financial records at Smith’s home.
Upon review of the bank statements, large amounts of ATM withdrawals, money transfers and debit card purchases were being made in the city of Middletown and Dayton area. Alleged purchases included restaurants, tattoo parlors, retail and jewelry stores and money orders. The department’s savings account of $12,000 and certificate of deposit worth $30,000 had also been closed and cashed out.
It was reported the fire department receives quarterly taxpayer payments by township trustees of around $13,500 per payment, which is automatically deposited into the business checking account. The department also receives a one time payment of $50,000 from the township trustees.
Judge Stacy Wall ordered Smith to not change residency unless the court is notified, not to leave the state of Ohio and not to be charged with any new criminal offense while on bond. She also ordered him to submit fingerprints to the court.