Saturday, December 13, 2008
Former California Fire Department Employee Sentenced In $1 Million Embezzlement Case
Michael Acle Burton, 57, a former fireman with the Riverside County Fire Department, was sentenced Friday to 88 months in prison for his part in an embezzlement scheme that bilked the county out of more than $1 million. Burton was accused in January 2007, along with co-conspirator, Steven Edward Vaughn, 63, a paid "volunteer" firefighter, of arranging unauthorized contracts with Vaughn's company. Burton pleaded guilty in September to four counts of embezzlement, three conflict-of-interest charges and seven counts of falsifying documents. According to prosecutors, he spent the stolen money on vacations, stereo equipment and other personal items. The fraud occurred between 1999 and 2004, while Burton was working as communications manager for the fire department. The recent embezzlement cases have sparked a full audit of the department.