Lehigh-Northampton Firefighter Accused Of Forging Checks To Steal Cash From Union, Cops Say

A Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority firefighter is accused of forging 16 checks and depositing $2,575 into his own bank account.

James Matthew Herr, 44, of Exeter Township in Berks County, faces 16 felony counts of forgery and one charge of theft by unlawful taking for the thefts that allegedly occurred between July 2018 and November 2019.

The airport authority police department filed the charges against Herr Jan. 9 and he was arraigned before District Judge Michael D’Amore him last week and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

In January, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Lt. Patrick Barnes contacted airport police to report a theft and forgery involving the PFFA IAFF Local, according to court documents.

Barnes discovered a total of 16 checks — 15 written in 2019 and one in 2018 — made out to Herr where Barnes’ own signature had been forged and the check was deposited by Herr, the paperwork states. Barnes said at no time did he authorize anyone to sign his name.

“Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority is aware of the situation involving ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) employee, James Herr,” Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority spokesman Colin Riccobon said in a statement. “The LNAA can confirm that Mr. Herr has been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of this investigation. Additionally, the IAFF Local 2227 funds in question are not connected to or associated with any accounts or monies of the airport authority.”

WFMZ Channel 69 News reports the Lehigh County charges are not Herr’s only legal troubles.

In December, Exeter Township police charged Herr with theft for allegedly stealing more than $700 worth of gasoline from municipal gas pumps, WFMZ wrote on its website. The former deputy chief of the Exeter Township fire department stole more than 400 gallons over several months and he faces misdemeanor theft charges in that case, police told WFMZ.

From www.lehighvalleylive.com

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