Audit shows money missing from Hope Fire Department accounts

HOPE — An Indiana State Board of Accounts audit has determined the former Hope Volunteer Fire Department treasurer needs to pay back more than $40,000 in missing funds to the department.

The state audit, released Thursday, says former treasurer Mathew Mathis owes $48,252.21 for a variety of financial improprieties, including issuing checks to himself without supporting documentation, more than $31,000 in undocumented cash withdrawals and failure to deposit money from fundraisers and other events into fire department accounts.

The total includes $4,611 in charges to be paid to the state of Indiana for the special audit, which covers financial records between Jan. 1, 2015 and July 27, 2016.

The audit has been forwarded to the Indiana Attorney General’s office and Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office, which could consider filing criminal charges in the matter.

Hope Fire Chief Randy Wood and fire department Lt. Bruce Neal, a former fire chief who serves as treasurer, said they could not comment on the audit results pending further investigation.

Wood did say Mathis is on suspension, and not on the fire department roster, and could not provide contact information for the former firefighter.

Attempts to reach Mathis on Thursday and Friday were not successful.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.