Rancho Adobo Fire official pleads guilty to grand theft in embezzlement case

A Rancho Adobe Fire District official pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of grand theft in the embezzlement of more than $63,000 from the firefighters' union.

Michael Scott Bechtold, 39, will be sentenced to no more than three years in Sonoma County jail at his Jan. 10 sentencing.

Bechtold, a former fire district captain, was accused of writing 45 unauthorized checks from the Local 1401 of the International Association of Fire Fighters Association account from 2006 to October of this year when he was union treasurer.

An investigation revealed most of the money was spent on a divorce attorney and child support payments, prosecutor Amy Ariyoshi said.

It was unclear just how much of it was used for a trip to Disneyland and for the purchase of San Jose Sharks season tickets, Ariyoshi said.

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