Former Conover Fire chief faces fraud-related charges

CONOVER, N.C. — The former fire chief in Conover was arrested and charged with several crimes related to providing false information on fire incident reports, the Conover city manager confirmed.

Mark Hinson resigned from his position on Aug. 14. He held the position since 2003.

Hinson is accused of falsifying financial reports and creating fire calls that didn’t happen, according to the 17-page indictment.

The allegations stem from an investigation by the state insurance department.

Hinson said very little Tuesday as the magistrate went over the long list of charges involving the former Conover Fire chief.

Several of the indictments allege that Hinson used city computers to create false fire reports to calls that involved the Conover Police Department.

The city manager said in a statement that “Conover has been cooperating with a North Carolina Department of Insurance investigation.”

Court documents state that some of those false reports listed firefighter, Ricky Allen, as the person responding to calls or completing training while Allen was out on medical leave.

Allen died earlier this year after battling cancer for more than two years.

Court documents indicate that some of the false reports also included allegations of forgery that claimed Hinson signed other supervisors’ names to reports of Conover Fire responding to fire alarms that didn’t happen.

Many are stunned by news of the arrest after Hinson was hailed a hero in 2017.

He was hospitalized after rescuing an adult and a child from a car that had crashed into a building.

Channel 9 spoke with the city manager at the time about Hinson.

“Had he not acted, we would probably be working a fatality at this stage,” said Donald Duncan, former city manager. “Heroic doesn’t describe the chief because that isn’t an adequate word.”

The possible motive behind the allegations has not been released.

Hinson is scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday.

This is a developing story; check wsoctv.com for updates.

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