PLYMOUTH - John C. Wunsch, former treasurer of the Terryville Volunteer Fire Department, was arrested Thursday for allegedly embezzling about $80,000 from the department.
He is facing one felony count of first-degree larceny after writing more than 50 checks to himself in his three years as treasurer, according to the warrant for his arrest. The amount of the checks varied, with some as small as $300 and others as big as $2,500.
Wunsch served as treasurer of the fire department from October 2014 through October 2017. A new treasurer was elected last fall and later found a discrepancy in the funds, which led to the finding of the improprieties.
According to the warrant, all of the money taken was from donations made to the fire department. None of the funds were from the Town of Plymouth. Donations to the department allow it to buy full dress uniforms.
Wunsch was confronted about the missing $81,160 during a meeting with the town’s mayor, the fire chief, the new treasurer and other town officials in January. During the meeting, the warrant said, he confessed to the embezzlement allegations.
Wunsch, a former mayoral candidate, was arraigned Thursday in Bristol Superior Court. Officials at the hearing said he does not have any convictions on his record. However, Jeffrey Lee, state prosecutor, said Wunsch is not eligible for a first-time offender program that could have spared him prosecution. Lee did not say why. A previous use of the program is one of multiple disqualifications that can make someone ineligible.
Wunsch’s attorney, Matt Dyer, said his client has been cooperative throughout the investigation. He said he is in the process of saving money in an attempt to pay restitution, adding that he has raised about 10 percent of what was allegedly taken.
Wunsch’s bond was set at $10,000 with a 10 percent cash option. This option, Dyer said, would allow him to put up cash that could later be returned for the purpose of restitution.
Wunsch did not enter a plea Thursday. He was ordered not to have any contact with the Terryville Fire Department, unless there’s an emergency.
Wunsch, who was a firefighter about 16 years, served one term on the town council from 2009 to 2011 and ran for mayor on the Republican ticket in 2011, losing to then-Mayor Vincent Festa.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.