Former Fire Company President Pleads Guilty to Theft

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HONESDALE -- The former president of the Lake Ariel Fire Company pleaded guilty in court Thursday to taking money from his own department.

Aaron Rossignol was charged with theft earlier this year after authorities discovered he was using a fire company fuel card for his own use.

Rossignol allegedly stole more than $8,000 worth of fuel from the fire department over a period of several years.

Rossignol was in court facing those felony theft charges, but ended up pleading to only a misdemeanor offense.

"Aaron is there anything that you'd like to say? Did you take that money from your fire company?"

"No, I did not," Rossignol said as the former president of the Lake Ariel Fire Company headed into Wayne County court.

According to investigators, he racked up more than $8,000 worth of credit charges with the Lake Ariel Fire Company's fuel credit card, allegedly using the card for personal use as early as 2011.

"I was in shock, total shock. It's something you don't expect," said Chester Nowacki of Lake Ariel.

Now the Wayne County district attorney's office and Rossignol's attorney have worked out a plea agreement.

Rossignol pleaded guilty one misdemeanor theft charge and is agreeing to pay $7,000 in restitution, giving back money to the same department he volunteered with for years and throwing out the felony counts he was facing.

"He is a good, decent guy, a loving family member, he's a loving father. He dedicated and devoted his life as a volunteer to the fire company," said defense attorney Paul Batyko.

Rossignol's attorney says some of the money investigators say he stole was actually used for legitimate fire department expenses. That's why investigators are agreeing to only make him pay back $7,000 to the fire company instead of the more than $8,000 he initially was charged with taking.

Some community members who rely on the Lake Ariel Fire Company disagree.

"To do that and not pay back the full amount, I think it's wrong," said Arlene Metsky of Lake Ariel.

Many are hoping to put this matter to rest in Lake Ariel and move forward, but they say it's a hard lesson learned.

"I don't think we're losing trust. You always have that trust. But there's got to be closer scrutiny I would think," said Nowaki.

Rossignol is scheduled to be sentenced in January and could possibly face jail time.

We reached out to members of the Lake Ariel Fire Company for comment but have not heard back.


  • Firechick

    None of us know the real or full story so it’s impossible to pass judgment here and ok so he took a plea if you are facing a felony, would you risk a trial and hope you are found innocent or just plead to lower count to get it over with? I’m assuming the fire co is ok with this. And really you can not buy a ring with fuel…. So that’s not the case.

  • Mike K.

    Disgraceful! If I were the District Attorney I would revoke the plea agreement and charge that classy girl with Disorderly Conduct .

  • we light 'em and fight 'em

    Did i hear that was his mom throwing the finger? She does look young though with the striped hair and all. Blue light on top of the pickup truck/ mom has blue striped hair.

  • Bob

    Where are the checks and balances? We see this time and time again…people charged with embezzlement. They embezzle over a multi year period for tens of thousands of dollars. And it takes the companies/organizations years to catch them. Where is the internal auditing? The fire company is just as much as fault here. Obviously, no one was auditing the books or he would have been caught after a few months.

    • Laura W.

      His brother used to be the chief of Lake Fire Co. Perhaps Aaron had help covering things up from the inside?

      • V.R

        Maybe you need to get your facts straight and stop throwing allegations around. Just because you think he had inside help doesn’t mean it was his brother. There are a lot of people that are part of that fire company maybe it was one of them helping and made a deal to give him up so they wouldn’t get in trouble. And I’m sure if it was one of your family members you wouldn’t want people throwing rumors around trying to make others look bad.

      • Cliff

        Wow VR. Talk about allegations. If that was factual I wonder where the proof is? After all innocent people who are framed will plea bargain all the time. You may want to take off those rose colored glasses.

  • nash3

    He should be hanging his head in shame and as for the girlfriend……real classy there flipping the finger. Way to stand by your man you should be embarrassed of yourself and him!

  • Joe Dirt

    Well they need to start investigating these our local fire houses! Starting with some right here in Columbia County that are crooked. I wish they would do undercover state audits on more local municipalities. The corruption in this state is just UNREAL!!!!!!!!

  • FireFly

    Another Girlfriend Aaron ? And this one has less class than the others if that’s possible. Laughing while walking into the courthouse….how appropriate. Smile for the camera….uuummm…… I mean Mugshot .

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