Fire chief's wife arrested, accused of stealing more than $200k from department
FRENCH SETTLEMENT - The wife of a Livingston Parish fire chief was arrested Monday after it was learned she had stolen more than $225,000 from her husband's department.
According to the sheriff's office, 46-year-old Melissa Guitreau was arrested after she confessed the theft to her husband, District #8/French Settlement Fire Chief Allen Guitreau.
The investigation first began when Chief Guitreau called the sheriff's office to look into the missing funds. After evidence linked Mellisa Guitreau to the crime, deputies say she admitted to the thefts, which date back as far as February 2017.
Deputies say investigators found 29 checks which appeared to have names that were forged. It's believed Guitreau had been stealing the funds and depositing them into a personal family business account in order to keep that business afloat.
The chief released the following statement Monday afternoon:
"As you can imagine, my world was turned upside down today. My wife confessed to me that she was taking money. Although difficult, I immediately did what I believe is the right thing for all - LPFPD #8 & my family - I called LPSO & I called for an independent financial review of LPFPD #8’s finances. As many of you may already know, as Chief, I do not handle any of the District funds. We have a board for that. I will continue to do what I know is right & will continue to provide the best in fire protection for those in LPFPD #8."
Melissa Guitreau was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center. She was later released on bond.
The investigation is ongoing.