Cannon Falls man charged with embezzlement of public funds
Over a two-month period a Cannon Falls man repeatedly used Cannon Falls Fire Department debit cards to fill up his vehicle, totaling $223.35.
Kenneth Edward Walls was charged with two felony counts of embezzlement of public funds and theft of public funds, but was convicted of financial transaction card fraud in court on Feb. 20. Walls will serve two years of probation and 60 days of community service for his gross misdemeanor conviction.
According to a criminal complaint, Cannon Falls Fire Department Chief Mike Althoff contacted the Cannon Falls Police Department on Jan. 30, 2018, about charges of around 30 gallons a month of regular unleaded gas as "suspicious" and didn't believe the department used that much in a given month.
A month later, Althoff observed a charge of $54.50 from a card that belongs to the rescue pickup truck. Althoff noticed there were no fire calls on that morning, so that card shouldn't have been used.
After taking the video from the fire hall, an officer saw a Cannon Falls firefighter, later to be identified as Walls, around the same time of the gas purchase.
Walls continued to fill up his vehicle using the fire department's debit cards over the next couple of months. Walls charged $223.35 worth of fuel to the department's debit cards for his own vehicle.
The police spoke with Walls on April 17, 2018, where Walls admitted to using the cards "about once a month."
Walls was facing five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine on the two felony charges, and one year in jail and a $3,000 fine for financial transaction card fraud.