A 35-year veteran of the Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department is under investigation by the Texas Rangers for theft of funds from the organization’s coffers.
Larry Heaton, who served as treasurer of the HVFD, was placed on inactive duty during a fire department meeting Tuesday, April 15, pending the outcome of the investigation. Heaton also serves as fire marshall for the City of Henrietta. Following a closed session Monday night, the city council decided unanimously to place Heaton on administrative leave.
The finance committee for the department’s ongoing capital funds campaign first noticed bookkeeping discrepancies in January.
“The finance committee, while attempting to pursue grants for the capital funds campaign, began to notice discrepancies in our books,” said Seth Slagle, representing the Henrietta VFD, in a statement released Wednesday. “The Finance Committee investigated these discrepancies and found enough irregularities that they began to suspect some impropriety on behalf of the person that was in charge of the day to day finances for the fire department.”
The finance committee gave its findings to the office of 97th District Attorney Paige Williams, who then turned the investigation over to the Texas Rangers.
The theft of funds is suspected to have occurred over a period of several years.
“These alleged irregularities involve only one fireman,” the statement noted. “The HVFD has taken the necessary measures to insure that the suspected individual no longer has access to any of the finances of the HVFD.”
HVFD began the capital funds campaign in mid-2010 after moving to the former TxDOT facility located at 916 W. Spring St. in an effort to renovate, remodel and restore the station.