Howell firefighter charged with official misconduct
A nine-count indictment against 54-year-old William Donahue of Howell charges the volunteer firefighter with official misconduct, tampering with public records and falsifying records, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Donahue, a member of the Howell Board of Fire Commissioners and volunteer with the Township's Freewood Acres Fire Company, is accused of falsely crediting his brothers, Michael and John Donahue, with years of service in the Township's Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP), even after they left the Howell department, announced Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni in a press release.
The LOSAP program provides active emergency service organization volunteers, like volunteer firefighters, deferred compensation benefits as an incentive and reward for volunteer service to the community. Benefits increase with each year of active service in the fire company.
Donahue is responsible for annually certifying which members of the fire department qualified for a "year of service" under the LOSAP program, according to Gramiccioni. Members had to complete a certain percentage of activities in the fire department to qualify for a "year of service" credit, thus, increasing their LOSAP benefits.
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English released Donahue on his own recognizance Monday with the conditions he has no contact with the Freewood Acres Fire Company or with Howell Township District #5 Board of Fire Commissioners.
Donahue would a mandatory five-year prison sentence without parole and a lifetime ban on public employment in New Jersey, if convicted of Official Misconduct.
Since Donahue was a public official and the crimes related to his office, he faces a mandatory two-year sentence without parole on each of four tampering with records counts, along with the lifetime ban and LOSAP forfeiture.
He also faces eighteen months in prison on each of the fourth-degree falsifying records charges.