Rancho Adobe fire district tightens financial procedures

An emergency audit prompted by the embezzlement of thousands of dollars from its firefighters' union found the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District budget escaped similar fraud.

But the audit did find areas in the department's financial procedures that need to be tightened, said Rancho Adobe Fire Chief Frank Treanor.

"The district intends to implement these controls in the near future," Treanor said.

The district's fire marshal, Capt. Michael Scott Bechtold, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $63,000 from the firefighters' union and faces up to three years in jail.

As treasurer of the Rancho Adobe Paid Fire Fighters Association, Bechtold wrote 45 unauthorized checks from the union's checking account from 2006 to last month, prosecutors said. He was arrested Oct. 26.

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