Fmr. fire chief Paul Barth sentenced but doesn't bring required restitution


by WHAS11

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 20 at 9:56 AM

(WHAS11) -- Former McMahan Fire Chief Paul Barth will spend 41-months in a federal prison, for stealing nearly $200,000 meant for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

Barth pleaded guilty Monday to multiple felony counts in Federal District Court, but he won't have to report to prison for at least 45 days, well into the new year.

He will first have to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution to the Crusade and McMahon Fire Department.

There were no words from Barth as he walked into the federal courthouse, appeared before a judge for sentencing, then walked back out.

Barth, who is accused of stealing from the charity he once served as chairman, chose to issue a written statement which was handed out to the news media by his attorney, Thomas Clay.

It said:

“I apologize first to my family and friends for all the pain that I have caused them throughout this matter, and for the pain that they will endure in the future. I apologize to the community and all those who believed in me, for letting them down as well. I have kept my word and have accepted responsibility for my actions, and anything questionable, just as I said I would. I ask for your forgiveness and for your prayers for both myself and my family."

“I'm not in a position to comment on what people are going to think or not to think, but this is a mechanism he chose to deliver his apology,” said Clay.

Barth admitted to using money he collected on behalf of the Crusade to take trips and pay his bills, like the tax bill on his $600,000 house, which was supposed to be sold by Monday in order for him to pay restitution as part of a plea deal which would allow him to spend only 41-months in prison.

But Barth showed up at his sentencing without the money.

“They had a closing set for the end of October which would have generated plenty of money to pay off this restitution amount,” said Clay. “The deal fell through, so here we are without the money. "

The Judge gave Barth until Wednesday to come up with the money or get a bond on his house, or the deal will fall through.

“I can assure you, Mr. Barth and his wife are trying to sell this property as quickly as possible because they want to get this matter behind them,” said Clay, who said the house will have to be sold in order for restitution to be made.

Neighbors living near the home Barth is trying to sell for restitution also weighed in on the 41-month sentence.

"I think people were just short of shocked he had this nice house and was sort of got all the money in such a terrible way, so I think the reactions were pretty negative," said Tess Finnegan.

He was called nice but private by a few of the neighbors, who said they hadn't seen him in about three weeks.

"I think at the end of 41 months we'll know the truth, whether or not he's truly sorry," said June, a neighbor, who didn't want to give her last name. "Surely he is, already."

WHAS Crusade for Children President Dawn Lee issued the following statement:

“We are grateful that through restitution all of the money intended for children will be returned to the Crusade. We want to thank the community for making it possible to make life better for three generations of children with special needs.”

Barth's attorney asked the judge to request that he be assigned to Manchester Federal Prison Camp, which is about 175 miles southeast of Louisville.