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Former Fire Company President Sentenced for Theft

The former president of the Greenwood Hose Company in Moosic was sent to jail Tuesday after admitting he stole nearly $400,000 from the organization.
A former fire company president was sent to jail Tuesday morning after admitting stealing money from the organization.

Bill Sweeney walked into court Tuesday on his own but left in handcuffs.

The 37-year-old will spend between 11 and 23 months in jail after admitting to stealing nearly $400,000 from the Greenwood Hose Company in Moosic.

"Too light. That's a lot of money, a lot of money, a slap on the wrist that was," Stacey Werner of Moosic said.

Reaction to the sentence was mixed in Moosic.

"I think it's fair, one year," James Yakavich of Moosic said. "Did he hurt anybody? Probably not, as long as he pays the money back."

Sweeney was the former fire company president and was also a Moosic councilman.

Investigators say he not only wrote checks to himself and a business he owns, Bitty Bill's Ice Cream shop, but he also opened up and used a business credit account in the name of the fire company.

"I think it's terrible. I think it's terrible. These firemen work so hard to raise this money. People try and help them to raise this money and I just think it's obscene," Edwina Aston of Spring Brook Township said.

In court, Sweeney apologized to the community, saying his goal is to pay all the money back.

To date, he has repaid roughly $112,000 of the $400,000. That is 28-percent.

Sweeney blames gambling for taking the money.

"Him getting arrested for this was kinda like taking the monkey off of his back and letting him move on. It's something he had no control over. He was powerless to it," defense attorney Bill Peters said.

People in Moosic say that is no excuse for what he did.

"We all have our vices. We don't all steal money to cover them," Aston said.

After being released from prison, Sweeney will also have to serve several years probation and will have to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
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