Tahlequah Daily Press

October 27, 2013

Former Peggs fire chief indicted

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A former chief of the Peggs Volunteer Fire Department has been suspended with pay from his employment as a Cherokee County sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer after being indicted by a multicounty grand jury.

Sheriff Norman Fisher said Friday that Roger D. Fine, 54, had been suspended from his duties as a deputy as of 1 p.m. that day. Fisher said the state’s office of the attorney general delivered the indictment documents to him Friday afternoon.

Court records show a warrant has been issued for Roger Fine’s arrest.

Fisher said after he reviews the allegations, Roger Fine will likely be allowed to turn himself in to authorities.

According to a copy of the indictment, Roger Fine is accused of 16 counts of delivering a forged note or instrument and one count of embezzling from the Peggs VFD from August 2009 through November 2012.

The grand jury alleges he misappropriated $4,725 “for gambling, personal enrichment, and other unlawful purposes.”

Earlier this year, Roger Fine was accused by the Peggs assistant fire chief, Brannon Holman, of misappropriating the funds. Roger Fine denied the allegations when he spoke to the Daily Press, and said the accusations were a “misunderstanding.” He said the truth would come to light with a review of the department’s financial records.

After the allegations surfaced, District Attorney Brian Kuester’s office asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter, but the OSBI declined and referred him to the attorney general.

A spokesperson for the OSBI said at the time that Roger Fine is related to an employee of the state investigative agency, and said the OSBI did “not want the integrity of such an investigation to be questioned because of a familial connection to the OSBI and the fire department.”

Kuester then asked the state’s attorney general to look into the allegations.

According to the indictment document, Roger Fine wrote numerous checks to Bob’s Mini Mart, Cale Fine, Mel’s Diner, and Peggs Hardware – each time forging the signature of Dale Fine, a relative and co-signatory on the department’s checks. According to the allegations, Dale Fine did not sign the checks himself, and did not give Roger Fine permission to sign the checks on his behalf.

The embezzlement charge is punishable by not more than five years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000, plus restitution. Delivery of a forged note or instrument is punishable by not more than seven years in prison.