William Weingarten, 65, former Carle Place Fire Department treasurer, pleaded guilty last week to stealing more than $50,000 from the department.
According to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, between Jan. 1, 2014, and Sept. 24, 2017, Weingarten allegedly used his department-issued credit card to make unauthorized purchases totaling $54,053.33. Most of the purchases consisted of Apple iTunes charges. Additional purchases were made to pay for a NASCAR membership, automobile parts, gasoline, electronics and meals at restaurants.
Before resigning as treasurer, Weingarten served 22 years with the department. As treasurer, his duties were to maintain the books, issue checks and make deposits for the department.
The Carle Place Fire Department’s board referred this case to the NCDA on September 21, 2017, based upon its review of an external audit of the department’s finances.
“The Carle Place Fire Hook Ladder & Hose Co. No. 1’s Board of Trustees has cooperated fully with the Nassau County District Attorney’s office in its investigation and hearings of William Weingarten, who served as a volunteer member of the department for 21 years and on the board of trustees for more than a decade, most recently as treasurer,” said the Carle Place Fire Department in a statement. “The board had accepted Mr. Weingarten’s resignation as a member of the department, which left a vacant seat on the board of trustees. The position was filled [by Robert Oven] in this past November’s membership meeting.”
“We rely on our fire departments to keep our communities safe, but this unscrupulous treasurer used funds meant for emergency services to pay for NASCAR and iTunes,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Anyone entrusted with the protection of public funds has an important responsibility, and we take betrayals of that trust very seriously. I thank the Carle Place Fire Department for bringing this matter to our attention.”
Weingarten is due back in court on April 18 and is expected to be sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $54,053.33.
—Additional information provided by the District Attorney’s Office