DA: Hempstead police officer stole funds from FD, falsified records
A former Hempstead volunteer firefighter was arrested on grand larceny charges Wednesday morning.
Randy Stith, 27, also a Hempstead Village police officer and member of the Hempstead School Board, was indicted on 13 charges related to allegedly stealing more than $6,500 from the fire department, where he served as treasurer from 2015 until 2018.
He was also accused of filing a false document to get his job as a Hempstead Village police officer.
Stith pleaded not guilty and was released on his recognizance. He is due back in court June 1. Stith’s supporters were vocal after the arraignment and tried to block the media while leaving the courthouse. They say the charges against him are politically motivated.
According to a release from District Attorney Madeline Singas, Stith made 12 unauthorized cash withdrawals from the bank account of the Hempstead Village Fire Department Southside Hose 2.
She says the department paid for a Carnival Cruise vacation for five of its members, but was issued a refund for the taxes charged when the cruise was canceled.
The DA says Stith allegedly cashed the refund check and falsified expenses in a financial statement to “obscure the withdrawals from the company’s bank account.”
Stith was terminated by the Hempstead Volunteer Fire Department on Jan. 31.
According to the DA, Stith submitted a forged recommendation letter in April 2015 to the Nassau County Civil Service Commission after he had been disqualified from civil service on an unrelated matter. The DA says he forged a letter, purporting to be signed by a member of the Hempstead Village Fire Department, which was a factor in his hiring as a Hempstead Village police officer. He was sworn in as an officer on June 8, 2017.
According to court records, Stith was previously arrested in 2010 and charged with assault for allegedly hitting a woman in the head with a bottle of bleach in a laundromat. That case was then sealed. Hempstead Village Police Chief Michael McGowan says Stith has been placed on paid leave until he can review the new charges.
“Once I see them, I will sit down with legal advisers and take the next steps,” he said.
Stith currently serves as a trustee of the Hempstead Union Free School District. He says he does not plan to step down.
The district told News 12 in a statement, "Hempstead School Board Member Randy Stith is someone who has given years to public service and deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, these are very serious allegations and if the charges are proven true, then the school district and school board will have to address it immediately."
Mayor Don Ryan said in a statement, "As a policy, we do not comment on anything involving Hempstead Village personnel matters.”