SAINT IGNATIUS – A Mission Valley community is reeling and a local volunteer fire department can’t pay for new gear after a town leader is arrested on embezzlement charges.
Annie Morigeau, 33, is facing two felony charges for forgery and theft after being accused of taking nearly $60,000 from the Saint Ignatius Firefighters Auxiliary Board.
Morigeau was the secretary of the board at the time but prosecutors say she signed for the treasurer and also used the checking account and debit card to withdraw cash and pay bills.
The town is now figuring out how to move forward from this situation.
The town of Saint Ignatius is shocked and confused after allegations against Morigeau — who is a city councilwoman and firefighter’s auxiliary board secretary. Now, many are wondering what will happen next.
“This is a sad time for our community — and a sad time for our fire department. But we are holding strong and just awaiting the outcome of this bad situation,” Saint Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Reece Bailey told MTN News.
According to court documents, Morigeau took funds from the auxiliary account without authority, over the span of three years. Her husband, Jeremiah, was fire chief for the volunteer fire department during at the same time.
Saint Ignatius Mayor Steve McCollumb says Morigeau’s husband submitted his resignation on Tuesday, “he’s as shocked as the rest of us.”
Mayor McCollumb added that in regards to Morigeau’s city council seat, “we’re going to ask her to step down until this thing is resolved.”
The fire department receives a large portion of their funds from auctions and fundraisers put on by the auxiliary board — and Bailey says there is a long list of equipment that needs replaced every year.
“That would have been money that could have outfitted all of our firefighters with new wildland gear for the year,” Bailey said. “That money could have been used to purchase new headlamps, new helmets. [There’s] a number of things that that money could have been used for”
Deputy Lake County Attorney Ben Ancieaux told MTN News on Tuesday that Annie Morigeau’s bond has been set at $50,000.