David Crone, a former assistant chief of Seneca Hose Volunteer Fire Company 1 in West Seneca, was ordered by a judge Monday to pay off the remaining $2,176 he owes the company within six months to avoid a jail term.
Crone, who pleaded guilty Sept. 10 to a reduced charge, told Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico that he did not steal any money and that the matter was a "personality conflict" within the fire company.
Crone, 32, of Seneca Street, was charged in May with felony grand larceny after West Seneca police charged that he stole $2,476 after getting cash advances from the fire company last year for a fund-raising event. Crone was expelled from the fire company last December after refusing to cooperate in a probe of missing funds.
D'Amico granted Crone, an auto mechanic, a conditional discharge because he did not have a prior criminal record and because he was raising a family.
Prosecutor Russell T. Ippolito Jr. said the fire company agreed to let Crone take the plea deal as long as complete restitution was made.
Crone declined to comment Monday, but his wife, Judy, blamed the case on bookkeeping problems and the fire company's refusal to keep receipts of sales from the fund-raiser.
She said she has receipts to justify fully the $9,511 her husband turned over to the fire company last year in the fund-raising effort.