On August 18, John Springer, former secretary-treasurer of the Gary Professional Firefighters Association, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three years of probation, including three months of home detention, for three counts of wire fraud totaling $30,315.99 from the Gary-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. He had worked out a plea agreement in March after being indicted last August. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Springer, now 54, a resident of Indianapolis, headed the Gary Professional Firefighters Association, also known as International Association of Fire Fighters Local 359, during January 2007-December 2012. According to prosecutors, starting in January 2008, he used his position to divert local funds for personal use. Springer used $12,741 of the stolen money to pay for his children’s tuition at a private school and another $9,075 to pay for lawyer’s fees in connection with his divorce. Other expenditures included car repairs, medical expenses and bus tickets. Springer admitted to his unauthorized use of funds in late 2012 when confronted by the union executive board.