The former treasurer of Brownsville Area Ambulance Service Inc. has been charged with stealing $136,140 from its checking accounts for personal use and to fund his flower shop.
Edward T. Stevenson, 62, faces a 21-count federal indictment. Stevenson, according to the charges, wrote 132 checks to himself or to his business, Lunden’s Flower Shop on Union Street in Brownsville, between Jan. 17, 2013, and March 22, 2017.
Stevenson had previously been charged while serving as treasurer for BASI. In 2002, he was charged with insurance fraud, criminal attempt to commit theft and forgery for adding a fraudulent $1,750 storage fee to an insurance claim following an ambulance wreck Dec. 24, 2001. He was admitted to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for six months.
The new charges allege he deposited the checks either into his personal bank account or into one of two bank accounts he maintained on behalf of the flower shop.
He faces seven counts of mail fraud and 14 counts of theft from BASI, a not-for-profit business that receives federal benefits through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
According to the indictment, as BASI’s treasurer, Stevenson was responsible for certain bookkeeping functions, including issuing checks for BASI expenses and payroll, and preparing and mailing financial records to an outside accounting firm.
The indictment alleged that after Stevenson wrote the checks, he made notations in BASI’s financial records that they were for a payroll advances, printer supplies, advertising or that the money was being deposited into the ambulance service’s bank account.
Charging documents allege Stevenson underreported BASI’s monthly income to the accounting firm, and falsely reported he repaid money issued as “payroll advances.”
Stevenson was arraigned Monday and pleaded not guilty. He has requested a jury trial. He is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond, meaning he did not have to post money to secure his release.
“We are deeply, deeply saddened that the person arrested betrayed the trust placed in them by this organization and so many others in the community,” BASI manager John Duke said Monday. “The Brownsville Ambulance Service is committed to continuing to provide the best ambulance service possible to the residents of the municipalities who have entrusted us to do so.”
A federal public defender has been appointed to represent Stevenson.