Former rescue squad chief sentenced for stealing $127K from agency

Scott Mel Bahner, the former chief of Bucks County Rescue Squad, will spend six to 23 months in county prison


Christopher Dornblaser
Bucks County Courier Times, Levittown, Pa.

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. — The former chief of Bucks County Rescue Squad will spend several months in prison for stealing more than $127,000 from the organization over multiple years.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office said Scott Mel Bahner, 50, of Bensalem, will spend six to 23 months in county prison.

Bahner pleaded guilty in December to charges of theft by unlawful taking, a felony, and a misdemeanor offense of access device fraud. He was sentenced in the case on Wednesday.

In addition to prison time, he was also sentenced to three years of probation, which will run concurrently to his prison sentence. He will also be screened for house arrest.

Bahner was ordered to pay $127,942.98 in restitution. The DA's office said in a news release that an investment fund Bahner owns has been seized and will be liquidated to cover the full amount of restitution.

He must report to Bucks County Prison on July 6.

Bahner, who served as chief of the Bristol Township-based squad from January 2009 until July 2018, stole about $127,000 through checks and various cards, according to authorities.

According to the DA's office, current members of the rescue squad attended Bahner's hearing Wednesday. They spoke of stress that the financial difficulties caused the rescue squad, and how they were betrayed when they learned the problems were caused by one of their own.

"Scott Bahner's malicious and selfish acts almost ruined the lives of the employees of Bucks County Rescue Squad and tainted the the image of a longstanding, well respected and trusted EMS organization in the community," Chief Martin Liczbinski said, according to the DA's office.

During Bahner's tenure, 78 checks totaling about $87,230 were fraudulently issued to Bahner, according to court documents.

Of the 78 checks, 47 of them were issued directly to Bahner with "no legitimate purpose" or false information, according to Bucks County Detectives.

Another 31 of those checks were reimbursements for Bahner's time with the Bucks County Major Incident Response Team, court documents state. He told Bristol Township in signed paperwork that he received no other compensation for that work, according to the DA's office.

Sixteen checks, totaling about $13,380, were issued as payment for Bahner and a family member's credit cards, according to the affadavit of probable cause.

None of the checks were approved by the rescue squad, and authorities have said the reimbursements were not legitimate.

Additionally, signatures of rescue squad officials were forged on the checks, court documents state. Bahner admitted to authorities that he forged their signatures, according to detectives.

The former chief also used squad money to pay for vehicle maintenance for his son's car, a drug rehabilitation center in Florida, as well as other services, which he covered up, court documents state.

He also stole $29,618.33 from Bristol Township when he submitted time, about 1,777 hours, that he did not work or was unapproved for, court documents state.

That was when he worked as a part-time community service officer for the police department.

He served in that role from October 2014 until he resigned in 2017. Bahner reimbursed the township in November 2017 for the money he took then, according to authorities.

Detectives began investigating Bahner in October 2018, when they were informed of funds being misappropriated by a squad employee.

Bahner's attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

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©2020 Bucks County Courier Times, Levittown, Pa.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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