Richard J. Bopp, left, leaves Nassau Police Headquarters in Mineola...

Richard J. Bopp, left, leaves Nassau Police Headquarters in Mineola on Thursday. Credit: James Carbone

A former Malverne volunteer fire chief was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing $30,000 from the department’s budget to feed his gambling addiction, Nassau prosecutors said.

Richard Bopp, 45, who also served as the town fire department’s treasurer, was charged with grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, corrupting the government and official misconduct for writing checks on the official account.

He also allegedly used a department debit card to withdraw money to play at the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, according to the Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

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

Bopp, who declined to speak after his arraignment, pleaded not guilty.

He worked for five years in the fire department, working his way to several high-ranking and trusted positions. He was chief of the department from 2019 to 2021 when he became treasurer and started the alleged theft, officials said.

A Malverne official reached out to the Nassau County police to report the theft after a town audit found 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.

At his arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Heather Kalachman asked that he be monitored during his release to ensure he does not abscond, citing the defendant's travels out of state.

“It is my contention that my client will not gamble with his freedom,” his Legal Aid lawyer said. “He will return to court going forward.”

Bopp faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. He will be back in court on May 16.

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