Former Malverne Fire Chief Richard Bopp appears at his sentencing...

Former Malverne Fire Chief Richard Bopp appears at his sentencing in Nassau County Court in Mineola Tuesday. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A former Malverne volunteer fire chief was sentenced to 5 years' probation on Tuesday for embezzling $30,000 from the department’s budget to feed his gambling habit.

Richard Bopp, 45, who also served as the fire department treasurer, reimbursed the stolen money two months ago, according to his lawyer.

He pleaded guilty after being charged and paid the money back as part of his plea deal.

“He knew he made a mistake,” Bopp’s lawyer, Scott Limmer, said. “The only thing he wanted to do was make them whole because he knew he made a mistake.”

Nassau County prosecutors charged Bopp in February with grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, corrupting the government and official misconduct for writing checks on the department account.

Bopp's gambling streak started on July 1, 2021, according to his criminal complaint, and stretched until May 1, 2023.

Bopp used the village’s debit card to withdraw money to gamble at casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, according to Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

He also forged signatures to at least five department checks in order to pocket the funds, according to the complaint.

“The Malverne Fire Department depends on these resources to serve the surrounding community and respond in a crisis,” Donnelly said at the time of his arrest. “This defendant’s alleged actions siphoned precious funds away from that essential objective.”

Bopp served for five years in the fire department, rising up the ranks to trusted positions. He was chief of the department from 2019 to 2021 when he became treasurer and started the theft, officials said.

Bopp’s pilfering became a legal matter after a village official contacted Nassau County police following a town audit that found the money missing from the fire department bank account, according to Donnelly’s office.

Investigators found social media posts of Bopp traveling to out-of-state casinos where he withdrew $20,000 and spent $5,000 of the department’s money for his gambling spree, prosecutors said.

Bopp forged the signatures of town officials to endorse checks for his gambling habit, according to Donnelly's office.

He resigned from the department after the allegations surfaced, officials said.

Malverne officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A former Malverne volunteer fire chief was sentenced to 5 years' probation on Tuesday for embezzling $30,000 from the department’s budget to feed his gambling habit.

Richard Bopp, 45, who also served as the fire department treasurer, reimbursed the stolen money two months ago, according to his lawyer.

He pleaded guilty after being charged and paid the money back as part of his plea deal.

“He knew he made a mistake,” Bopp’s lawyer, Scott Limmer, said. “The only thing he wanted to do was make them whole because he knew he made a mistake.”

Nassau County prosecutors charged Bopp in February with grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, corrupting the government and official misconduct for writing checks on the department account.

Bopp's gambling streak started on July 1, 2021, according to his criminal complaint, and stretched until May 1, 2023.

Bopp used the village’s debit card to withdraw money to gamble at casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, according to Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

He also forged signatures to at least five department checks in order to pocket the funds, according to the complaint.

“The Malverne Fire Department depends on these resources to serve the surrounding community and respond in a crisis,” Donnelly said at the time of his arrest. “This defendant’s alleged actions siphoned precious funds away from that essential objective.”

Bopp served for five years in the fire department, rising up the ranks to trusted positions. He was chief of the department from 2019 to 2021 when he became treasurer and started the theft, officials said.

Bopp’s pilfering became a legal matter after a village official contacted Nassau County police following a town audit that found the money missing from the fire department bank account, according to Donnelly’s office.

Investigators found social media posts of Bopp traveling to out-of-state casinos where he withdrew $20,000 and spent $5,000 of the department’s money for his gambling spree, prosecutors said.

Bopp forged the signatures of town officials to endorse checks for his gambling habit, according to Donnelly's office.

He resigned from the department after the allegations surfaced, officials said.

Malverne officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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