Judge rejects plea agreement in case of firefighter accused of embezzlement

2013-07-19T16:50:00Z 2013-07-19T19:02:07Z Judge rejects plea agreement in case of firefighter accused of embezzlementStan Maddux Time Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 19, 2013 4:50 pm  • 

LAPORTE | A disagreement over how much a Kingsford Heights firefighter who embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from the department should have to pay back could result in the case going to trial.

A plea agreement that called for Donald Gambrel to reimburse the department $16,193 was rejected Tuesday by LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos.

It's believed Gambrel while treasurer of the Kingsford-Union Volunteer Fire Department actually embezzled more than $86,000.

However, according to prosecutors, the figure outlined in the plea represents what was taken during a five-year period within the statute of limitations.

Court documents state he took money from 2002 to 2011.

Kingsford-Union Fire Chief Brian Nurnberg and the attorney for the department, Alan Sirinek, claimed more than $30,000 was taken during the five years before charges were filed in 2011.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi defended the lesser amount, saying his figures were correct.

The plea on Class D felony theft also called for a 90 days jail sentence along with 275 days on work release and three years probation.

Both sides will try to iron out their differences over restitution in revising the plea or decide to take the case to trial.

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