PA Cop pension denied after FD Relief Association robbery
A former Allentown police officer who pleaded guilty to stealing $315,000 from a firefighter’s relief fund has ended his fight to receive a city pension.
Corey Cole Jr., 44, of East Allen Township, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to stealing approximately $315,000 from the Lehigh Township Fireman’s Relief Association. But Northampton County Chairman Judge Michael J. Koury Jr. allowed Cole to withdraw his guilty plea in November 2020 while Cole appealed the city’s decision to deny him his pension.
Allentown had decided to deny Cole his pension payments, which would have amounted to $47,000 a year. Cole was an Allentown police officer from 2000 to 2018.
Former treasurer of the firefighters’ relief association, Cole issued more than $221,000 in checks to his benefit, spent nearly $74,000 using the association’s bank card and created nearly $20,000 in fake bills. , authorities said. Police said Cole spent the money on online shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
Allentown argued that Cole stole the money while an officer, rendering him ineligible for his pension.
The Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas sided with the city in November, denying Cole pension. Cole re-entered his guilty plea on Tuesday to charges of theft and access device fraud.
The charges carry maximum sentences of 10 years and seven years respectively. Cole will be sentenced on July 13.
Cole’s attorney, Gregory Spang, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Because the city denied Cole’s pension, he will not receive annual payments from the city, but Allentown will return approximately $73,000 in Cole’s own contributions to its pension funds. Almost all of that will go toward the $68,000 he still owes the firefighters association.
The fire association’s insurance reimbursed the association $250,000 to help with the loss, but the association is still short by about $73,000 because of the theft. Cole still owes the insurance company the $250,000, which Augustine said Cole will likely pay in monthly installments. Cole’s conviction will determine what those payments look like.
Cole expressed remorse for his actions in August 2020.
“You have no idea how sorry I am for the hurt I’ve caused,” Cole said. “These firefighters are a brotherhood. And I threw it all away.
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