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Hugo man charged with stealing $188K from firefighters group

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The former treasurer of the Minnesota State Fire Department Association has been charged with stealing $188,000 from the organization over the past four years to pay for trips to Mexico and other locations, entertainment, memberships for online dating sites and other personal expenses.

Anthony Bronk, 42, was charged in Washington County court Monday with five counts of theft by swindle and one count of offering forged checks, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Bronk was also a member of the Hugo City Council. He was elected in 2012 and resigned his seat in November when the allegations against him emerged, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bronk was the treasurer of the MSFDA from 2010-2014. According to the criminal complaint, Bronk used the association's credit card to rack up $135,000 in personal expenses over that time, the Star Tribune reports.

Some of those expenses included a vacation to Cozumel, Mexico; "wages" paid to his girlfriend, even though she was not an employee of the organization; online dating memberships; restaurant meals; alcohol; rental cars; other entertainment expenses; and yard signs for his campaign for the City Council, according to the criminal complaint.

In addition, Bronk is accused of forging the signature of the MSFDA president on 89 checks to pay himself a total of $53,000, according to the Star Tribune.

“Throughout the period of time in which he was taking money from the MFSDA, Bronk reported to the Association on the financial condition of the organization and failed to disclose any of the unauthorized expenditures,” the charges said, according to the Star Tribune.

The theft was discovered in October when another employee of the MSFDA found evidence of the unauthorized expenditures, the Pioneer Press reports.
Bronk was suspended from his position as treasurer on Nov. 3.

The Minnesota State Fire Department Association is a nonprofit organization that represents fire departments and firefighters in Minnesota on issues such as training, fire prevention and legislation.

Bronk's first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 18.

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