Police: Verplanck FD Treasurer Stole $13,500 from Fire Department

The woman was arraigned in Cortlandt Town Court this morning. She had turned herself into the fire department, and was arrested by New York State Police, police said.

The volunteer treasurer entrusted with the Verplanck Fire Department’s money allegedly stole $13,500 from the department over the last six months, according to New York State Police investigator Sean Morgan.

Elizabeth Burns-Scott, a 43-year-old Buchanan resident, turned herself into the Verplanck FD on June 3, admitting that she had taken about $13,500 since Dec. 2011; she said she intended to pay them back, police said. The fire department conducted an internal investigation, and then Burns-Scott turned herself into the NYSP on June 7, Morgan said. She had been working as the FD’s treasurer for about two years, according to a fire department official.

Burns-Scott was charged with grand larceny in the third degree and released on her own recognizance by state police. She was arraigned in Cortlandt Town Court this morning, where Judge Klein again released her on her own recognizance, according to the Town of Cortlandt court office. She is due back in court on July 23.

This was Burns-Scott’s second arrest in the last three weeks. She on May 30 by  Peekskill Police for seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, when she was allegedly found with cocaine following a traffic stop. 

The arrest is not currently published in the New York State police's public information report on their website available to the media due to privacy issues related to the case, said Investigator Morgan.


Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include the reason why the arrest report was omitted from the state police information report. 

Patty Villanova June 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Why does this not surprise me?
Walden Macnair June 18, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Let's see, arrested for cocaine possession but allowed to be in charge of the money. If it's not the politicians, it's the volunteers. Whether it's steeling from food pantries, taking bribes or hiring relatives there seems to be no end to the corruption in this county. My only suggestion? Long jail terms in maximum security facilities for anyone convicted of stealing from the public and I'm only suggesting that because we can't flog them in the public square.
Michelle Carter June 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM
One reason our community is so great is precisely because of our volunteers: the folks at CCVAC who leave their beds in the middle of the night when we need an ambulance, the firefighters who risk their lives at fire and accident scenes, the Lions who screen kids for vision problems and feed the hungry, the PTA members, the Little League coaches and Girl Scout leaders...We are fortunate so many of our neighbors care and give back. Don't let one person's poor choices tarnish the work of the rest.
Albert Boddie June 18, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Well said Michelle !!
Ann Hudson June 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Let's see Walden, the drug charges came AFTER the money went missing, hindsight vision is always 20/20. As many volunteers the area has, we have a GREAT track record. What have you done for your community lately? If you think you can do better than the volunteers, or even the politicians, feel free to volunteer your time or even run for office. If either of these seem like too much for you to handle, try learning how to spell, the charges had absolutely nothing to do with metal alloys (aka steel).
Chris Clement June 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM
@Walden, couldn't have said it better myself. We are surrounded with corruption, in many forms, with $ the root of most of the problem because there's not much over-sight. IMO, politicians lead the brigade of thievery. If they can do it, why can't the common folk? In Walden's defense, I don't think he was bad-mouthing volunteers across the board. Majority of our volunteers are caring and professional. It's the few rotten apples that do the tainting. Majority of volunteers deserve our priase, and thanks, and this includes our military service men and women.
Walden Macnair June 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM
If I offended volunteers, and apparantly I have, I appologize. My statements were not an indictment of volunteers. I, myself am a volunteer and I realize what an important part they play. What I want to indict is exactly what Chris said, the complete lack of oversight of all these organizations, followed by the, "I am shocked" reaction when the dishonestly is revealed. The fact that someone is a volunteer does not relieve the organization of its responsibility of due dillegence as the volunteer is acting as an agent of the organization. As to this particular case, based on my experience, I would suspect that someone in the organization new of her substance abuse issue, even before her arrest, and just looked the other way. If she was a police officer or paid fire officer she would have most likely been suspended immediately upon arrest until the matter was adjudicated. Yet because she was a volunteer, even after her arrest and after her conviction she was still the Treasurer. This is the very definition of, "lack of oversight".
Michelle Carter June 19, 2012 at 06:21 PM
"Yet because she was a volunteer, even after her arrest and after her conviction she was still the Treasurer. This is the very definition of, "lack of oversight"." According to this article, the theft began six months ago, she was arrested a few weeks ago, and the theft just uncovered. No one has been tried or convicted. Clearly once she was arrested someone thought it prudent to examine the books. With so many stories out there of charities being ripped off for years and years before being revealed, I'm actually impressed it was caught so quickly. I know nothing of this situation outside of what has been published, but I would not describe the Verplanck FD as suffering from a lack of oversight. In fact, I'd argue that in such a tight-knit community it's even harder to pull off something like this for very long. I hope this situation doesn't diminish the reputation of the rest of the department. Members of my own family and countless friends and neighbors quite literally owe their lives and homes to members of the Verplanck FD, and I'm grateful to the volunteers who give up sleep, time with their families, and risk their safety to help us.
billy June 20, 2012 at 02:18 AM
billy June 20, 2012 at 02:22 AM
PJ June 20, 2012 at 08:00 PM
don't judge somebody until you understand the motives behind what she did. desperation is a terrible thing to live with day to day and makes you do things you would never normally do.
Sam June 23, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I have had tough times, but not desperate enough to do drugs or steal. Not judging, that is what courts are for, but considering she turned herself in and was caught with the drugs, I believe it is safe to say she did it. Comments like the ones from billy are uncalled for, there is no need to attack personally. Your comment is just as silly though because most people don't do what she did. I hope she gets the help she needs obviously, but don't excuse her behavior because it's that attitude that will keep people doing these kinds of things.
Paul B. June 24, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Try learning how to spell before posting a comment. Talk about white trash.....Billy, the poster boy for inbreds.
Liz June 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Of course the drug charges came AFTER the money went missing! AFTER She had the money to buy them!! Who cares if she's a volunteer or not, if anything I think that makes it worse. The point is she was trusted with a position and took advantage of the trust of not only the Verplank FD but the citizens of the community who make monitary donations to support the FD but instead are supporting her drug habit. $13k in 6months that's crazy!! Granted 6 months is not a very long time but $13k is not small change why was no one checking on her sooner. Just goes to show you cant trust peoples motives. And just because you don't like someone's opinion attacking their spelling or grammar is ridiculous and immature. Grow up people!
MH December 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Liz is and has always been a good person. People make mistakes and there are consequences for these mistakes. Please stop the stupid comments. She made a mistake and will have to pay the price. I pray for you Liz and your family.
t m January 30, 2013 at 04:14 AM
thinking of you pookie


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »