Affidavit: Sabine County couple used VFD's card to make $5K in unapproved purchases

Affidavit: Sabine County couple used VFD's card to make $5K in unapproved purchases
Terry McKee (Source: Sabine County Jail)
Terry McKee (Source: Sabine County Jail)
Tiffaney McKee (Source: Sabine County Jail)
Tiffaney McKee (Source: Sabine County Jail)

SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Sabine County Sheriff's Office arrested a Bronson couple in connection allegations that they made $5,079 in fraudulent charges on the Rosevine Volunteer Fire Department's debit card when they served as the VFD's assistant chief and secretary/treasurer.

Terry Joe McKee. 46, and Tiffaney LaSalle McKee, 47, were both arrested and charged with felony credit/debit card abuse on June 30.

According to the arrest affidavit East Texas News obtained Friday, a Sabine County Sheriff's Office deputy met with the chief of the Rosevine Volunteer Fire Department on May 3. She told him that she wanted to file charges because the fire department's credit/debit card had been used without permission.

The VFD chief also told the SCSO deputy that Terry McKee, the assistant fire chief, and Tiffaney McKee, the secretary/treasurer, had used the fire department's debit card and checkbook without permission, the affidavit stated.

Terry and Tiffaney McKee started in their positions with the fire department in September of 2015, and they were removed as assistant chief and secretary treasurer on April 13. The chief said the McKees were given a debit card and a checkbook for the fire department and that she and the couple were the only ones who had access to the RVFD accounts, the affidavit stated.

When the SCSO deputy asked the fire chief about the process for approving purchases for the VFD, she said that all items must be voted on and approved by RVFD board members.

According to the affidavit, the fire chief provided the SCSO deputy with copies of the statements for the fire department checking and savings accounts that had been closed and a statement for its active checking account. Every charge that was not approved by the RVFS board was highlighted.

The charges and checks included purchases at Walmart and Sam's Club, NAPA, Amazon, Brookshire Brothers, Elijah's Café, a trophy business, gas stations, Leisure Time, Red Lobster, Harbor Freight, a locksmith business, Academy Sports, Casa Ole, Rtic Coolers, Best Buy, and Dairy Queen.

"I was shown text messages between [the chief] and Terry McKee," the SCSO deputy wrote in the affidavit. "In the messages, Terry McKee said that he owes the RVFD $500 and not $5000. Terry McKee also said he has statements and minutes for the meetings."

When the SCSO deputy asked the couple about the charges that the chief highlighted on the statements on May 18, they said the chief told them that if they were running errands for the fire department, they could use the RVFD debit card to put gas in their vehicles, the affidavit stated. The couple also allegedly said that many of the charges were for fundraisers for the RVFD.

Tiffaney McKee said some of the charges occurred when she took the EMT test and got permission to put gas in her vehicle, the affidavit stated.

"Terry and Tiffaney McKee also said that [the chief] told them that while they are running errands, they could use the RVFD debit card to eat," the affidavit stated.

After the couple compared their receipts and notes with the highlighted charges on the statements, Julie Conn, their defense attorney, sent the SCSO deputy paperwork that broke down the McKees' expenses for each month. She also left a note that stated Terry and Tiffaney McKee owed the Rosevine VFD $1,733 and that they would pay that amount back, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit listed the McKees' descriptions for some of the purchases. In addition to the explanation of meal purchases, the description for one purchase at Walmart simply said "personal." Two other entries said "unknown," the affidavit stated.

The Amazon purchases were for things like Lego sets, coloring books, and a sterling silver necklace and earrings set, the affidavit stated. Descriptions for other Amazon purchases simply said "unknown," the affidavit stated.

All total, 61 charges were highlighted on the fire departments checking and savings account statements, the affidavit stated. The total amount of charges that the chief said were unapproved was $5,076.32.

The affidavit stated that if the $1,733 the couple said they would pay back is factored in, the chief is still disputing purchases that totaled $2,886.35.

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