Investigation Reveals $300,000 Theft from Fairfield Glade Volunteer Fire Department


The former treasurer for the Fairfield Glade Volunteer Fire Department in Cumberland County was convicted on charges of stealing more than $300,000 according to a statement from Tennessee Comptrollers.

Comptrollers and members of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department investigated the man, James Botbyl, according to a press release.

“Investigators determined that Botbyl wrote 64 fire department checks totaling $302,303 payable to one of his two personal businesses and deposited them into this personal business accounts. These checks ranged in amounts from $1,000 to $8,600. These checks were written over a 10-month period from November 2017 through September 2018. Investigators determined that Botbyl’s businesses never provided any property or services to the fire department to justify these payments,” according to the press release.

“Botbyl was able to conceal the theft by controlling and limiting the amount of financial information provided to the fire department’s board of directors. In September 2018, after learning of this scheme, the board of directors suspended Botbyl. The investigation revealed that during the course of his scheme, Botbyl periodically deposited personal funds totaling $62,743 in the fire department’s bank accounts in an apparent effort to repay some of the stolen money. This left a final shortage of $239,560.”

The Cumberland County Grand Jury indicted James Charles Botbyl in April on one count of theft over $60,000. Botbyl pleaded guilty to that charge on June 19, the press release said.

“Several weaknesses allowed this theft to go undetected for several months,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson in a statement.

“Only one signature was required on fire department checks, and the former treasurer was the only person who reviewed the bank statements. I’m pleased to note the fire department and its board of directors have corrected these deficiencies.”

No information about Fairfield Glade’s population was apparently available online Wednesday.

Click here to view the investigative report.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo by Fairfield Glade Fire Department




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