Olean Firefighter Accused of Theft Lighting Up His Own Bank Account with Public Funds
Firefighters usually take an oath to place the needs of those they serve above those of their own. That may not be the case for one firefighter in New York, who stands accused of stealing more than $100,000 from his department.
Lieutenant Terry M. Gaylor, Jr. is facing multiple charges following a joint investigation by the New York State Police, the Cattaraugus County District Attorney's Office, and the Office of the State Comptroller after he allegedly stole money from the City of Olean Fire Department (COFD).
Gaylor, who is a paramedic with the COFD, is listed as being with the department since 2002, according to the City of Olean Department of Fire, Buildings and Emergency Services Online Member Roster.
Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman's office led part of the investigation. Police say Gaylor, who has been identified as both 40 and 41 years old in multiple reports, was arrested on January 12, 2022 following an investigation which began in March 2021 which, according to the NYSP, "led Troopers to discover Gaylor had forged checks to himself from the (City) of Olean Fire Department '2% Fund' totalling $116,022.81."
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. Dinapoli says "Gaylor Jr.," a firefighter and former trustee of the COFD, "betrayed his duty to his community by allegedly stealing funds meant to protect the citizens of Olean to fund his personal business and lifestyle."
According to a written release from Comptroller DiNapoli's Office, investigators believe that Gaylor Jr. paid "his personal credit card bills directly from the fire department’s account and writing unauthorized checks to himself. Gaylor Jr. allegedly used more than $50,000 of the funds to pay his personal credit card, most of which funded his private HVAC business, Amazon purchases and payments to Verizon Wireless. He also wrote over $65,000 in checks to himself from COFD accounts. Many of the checks also contained forged signatures. Gaylor Jr. allegedly deposited these checks into his personal account, which he then used to withdraw cash and pay for personal expenses."
Gaylor was arraigned in the Cattaraugus County Court and then sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail.
Gaylor now faces the following charges:
- Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree
- Forgery in the 2nd Degree (two counts)
- Official Misconduct by a Public Servant
As of this posting Gaylor is still listed on the COFD's website.
He is scheduled to answer the charges in court on February 14, 2022.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: This post is for informational purposes and is based largely on information received from New York State Police and the Office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. All arrested persons are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. As of this posting no additional information is available.]
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