August 23, 2103
DA: Ex-Treasurer Of Upper Gwynedd Township Fire Company Stole
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — The former treasurer of the Upper
Gwynedd Township Fire Company stole money to fund trips, buy
expensive jewelry and even to pay for his daughter’s wedding in
Las Vegas, authorities allege Friday.
Ronald Kenneth “Ken” Nolan was arrested and is facing numerous,
including theft, for allegedly stealing nearly $250,000.
According to investigators, Nolan served as the treasurer of the
fire company for 24 years. In December 2012, elections were held
and Nolan was voted out from his position.
The incoming treasurer immediately began to examine the Fire
Company’s finances and discovered irregularities that led to a
criminal investigation by the Montgomery County District
Through an audit and criminal investigation, authorities found
that Nolan allegedly stole $249,703.77 of Upper Gwynedd Township
Fire Company funds and used it for his personal expenses between
2006-2012, all while he served as the volunteer Treasurer of the
Authorities say Nolan stole in two ways: cash advances from the
Fire Company’s bank accounts in the amount of $116,000.00 and
two credit cards linked to the Fire Company’s account to fund
personal activities and expenses.
According to investigators, the expenditures included vacations
to Florida, Jamaica, China and 15 trips to Las Vegas. In
addition, it is alleged that Nolan used Fire Company funds to
pay expenses related to his daughter’s 2006 wedding celebration
in Las Vegas, including airline transportation for wedding
Nolan is also accused of using Fire Company funds to purchase
jewelry, computers, clothing, spa visits and tickets to sporting
In addition, Nolan allegedly used the credit cards to withdraw
thousands of dollars in cash from the Fire Company’s account to
Nolan surrendered to authorities and was arraigned on Friday.
He has been charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft by
Deception, Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of
Funds Received, Access Device Fraud, Dealing in Proceeds of
Unlawful Activity, and Misapplication of Entrusted Property.
On Friday afternoon, The Board of Commissioners of Upper Gwynedd
Township released a statement that read in part:
“While the Board of Commissioners of Upper Gwynedd Township are
concerned about the charges filed against Mr. Ken Nolan, the
Board is confident that the financial position of the West Point
Volunteer Fire Department is such that it will continue to
provide the same level of services to the Township that we as
residents have come to expect.”
August 26, 2013
Theft charges in fire co. heat up Upper Gwynedd
Upper Gwynedd Township is heating up — over politics outside of
its fire company and alleged criminal activity within it.
The controversy emerged last week, when Montgomery County
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced the arrest of
Ronald Kenneth Nolan, the former treasurer of the Upper Gwynedd
Township Volunteer Fire Company, on charges including theft by
unlawful taking in the case of $249,703.77 that went missing
from fire company funds between 2006-2012.
Authorities allege that Nolan used the money to pay for personal
expenses, including vacations to China, Jamaica, Miami, and 15
trips to Las Vegas. He also is said to have paid for gambling in
Vegas casinos and costs associated with his daughter’s 2006
wedding in Las Vegas.
Details are starting to emerge that paint a picture — an
election-season picture — of the commission not heeding warnings
from a fire company official, according to Upper Gwynedd
resident Greg Moll, a lawyer who is active in the township’s
Moll said Monday that commissioners did nothing when first
approached with suspicions about a year ago that then-treasurer
Nolan might be pocketing money.
He plans on going to Monday night’s regularly scheduled
commission meeting to ask them about why they didn’t take action
when they learned there might be a problem. Moll has heard that
other residents or members of the fire company might attend as
Commissioners on Monday afternoon did not return a message
asking for comment.
Joe Bifolco, president of the fire company, confirmed that he
approached a commissioner in late August or early September last
year suggesting that Nolan might be embezzling money. When
commissioners offered no help, the nonprofit fire company itself
paid $31,000 to an accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit.
Fire company officials ousted Nolan before auditors examined the
“We voted him out of office because we had a suspicion of misuse
of funds,” Bifolco said, “and we knew by removing him, it’s just
common sense, that gives us access to everything we had to get
Bifolco said the audit the fire company paid for only looked for
missing money up to $250,000 because its loss or theft insurance
policy on all members covers up to $250,000.
“To me, it wouldn’t have been financially responsible for us to
continue counting past the amount we could collect from the
insurance company,” he said.
Ferman said Friday that her office would look at more records
covering more years during Nolan’s tenure.
The controversy isn’t likely to go away soon. Moll said his
concern about the theft charges were not related to politics.
But a municipal election will be coming up in November, when two
incumbents will face challenges from Democratic candidates.
Moll pointed out that he got involved after fire company members
contacted him — and that there were both Republican and
Democratic members who were upset about the whole episode.
Since the missing money was identified, the fire company has
embraced a number of accounting reforms — including stripping
the treasurer of signing authority over expenditures and
requiring multiple officials’ signatures for account
The department, whose annual budget is about $175,000, gets
about $70,000 yearly from the township. It raises the rest
September 4, 2013
Embezzlement Trial Ordered For Former Upper Gwynedd Fire
UPPER GWYNEDD, Pa. (CBS) — A former fire department official in
Montgomery County has been ordered to stand trial on charges
that he stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars while he was
the company’s treasurer for more than two decades.
Prosecutors believe they have a solid case against Ken Nolan,
who waived his preliminary hearing on theft and related charges.
The 62-year-old Skippack man was the former treasurer for the
Upper Gwynedd Fire Company and spent more than 20 years as the
township fire marshal.
Prosecutor Noah Marlier says Nolan stole the money by writing
cash advances to himself and using two fire company credit
cards. In doing so, Marlier says, Nolan compromised fire safety:
“This money that he took could have been spent on the
firefighters that are putting themselves at risk every day, that
are on the front lines, that are saving lines — that’s what they
are tasked to do.”
Marlier says the money was spent on lavish vacations, tickets to
sporting events, jewelry, and his daughter’s wedding
Defense attorney Tim Woodward says Nolan confessed to what he
did and is deeply remorseful, but would not offer an explanation
for what happened.