Former firefighter sentenced for stealing from Burned Children's fund, church

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A former Lincolnton Fire Department assistant chief will serve six months in prison for embezzling from the Fire Fighter's Burned Children's Fund and a church, Channel 9's partners at the Gaston Gazette reported Wednesday morning.

William "Bill" Fortenberry, who pleaded guilty last week to nine counts of embezzlement, will serve his sentence in two three-month stints and participate in the work-release program while behind bars.

He first came under investigation in September when the Lincolnton Police Department asked the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation for assistance.

Fortenberry had been the treasurer for the Lincoln County Chapter of the Fire Fighter's Burned Children’s Fund and the Pisgah United Methodist Church United Men's Organization.

The SBI investigation revealed that Fortenberry embezzled $29,339.46 from the children's fund and $4,809.50 from the church while in those positions.

He was formally charged in February and released from jail on bond.

Once he's finished serving his prison sentence, Fortenberry will be on probation for more than two years.

The Gazette reported that Fortenberry was ordered to pay restitution to both entities and told not to hold a position of trust over money during his probation.

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