LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For the first time, we are hearing from a firefighter accused of scamming people through a fake fundraiser.
Lareco Walker was arrested in Monticello for selling raffle tickets while wearing an East Pulaski County Fire Department shirt.
Walker said he thought wearing the gear made his fundraiser more credible.
“So they wouldn’t think I am just going around saying I am a firefighter when they can’t prove I am a firefighter doing a fundraiser. So I chose to wear my uniform so they can identify that I am a firefighter doing a fundraiser,” said Lareco Walker.
However, the Fire Chief and a board member for the department tell me, they had no idea about it until Walker was in custody.
“As soon as I started the fundraiser, they ended it,” said Walker.
“He never brought it up to anybody at the Fire Department so we couldn’t not be interested in it if we didn’t know about it,” said Steven Strawn, Fire Chief, EPCFD.
Walker says he was just trying to raise money to help out some local families during the holidays. A decision that ultimately landed him in cuffs and at odds with Chief Strawn and longtime board member Bill Culver.
“He was wearing our shirt, our radio, our pager so visually he is representing East Pulaski Fire Department,” said Chief Strawn.
“Circumstances that it was, it just doesn’t seem right,” said Bill Culver, District Chief, EPCFD.
Despite how it looks, Walker says he plans on fighting the 60 counts of theft by deception and the one county of obstructing governmental operations.
“I think I can beat it because I have all the proof that I literally going to give it away as a fundraiser,” said Walker.
Walker says his proof is this flyer.
“I don’t know why but they think its a scam,” said Walker.
After fighting the misunderstanding, Walker hopes on returning to the Fire Department.
Both Culver and Strawn say Walker will not be reinstated to the department.
Walker’s court date is set for November 5th.