UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas — East Mountain Fire Chief James Burks pleaded guilty Monday to charges of using the department's funds for personal use.
According to the Upshur County District Attorney's Office, in May of 2019, members of the East Mountain Volunteer Fire Department noticed issues in a bank statement received by the agency.
James Burks, who had been elected as fire chief, was in a relationship with a woman who was associated with the departments bookkeeping.
Burks was unable to provide documentation for questionable purchases, prompting an investigation by the Upshur County Sheriff's Office.
The investigation found Burks used about $45,000 inappropriately, including gambling trips, food and gas purchases, cash withdrawals and spa treatments. Burks also used the department's equipment as collateral for loans.
Burks confessed to taking the money and pleaded guilty to the charge of Misapplication of Fiduciary Property. He faces two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A date for sentencing has not been set.