NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — A now former Newport firefighter has pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement and fraudulent use of a credit card after he was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from Newport Firefighters IAFF Local 1080.
Marcus Cochran, 42, was released on $10,000 surety bond Thursday in Newport Superior Court.
According to union president Nicholas Insana, Cochran was the treasurer until the allegations came to light in February, which is when he returned $80,000.
Insana said the money was from an account holding union dues. He said union leaders became aware of the problem last December and alerted state police.
“It was a very shocking time. We were not prepared to find that,” Insana recalled.
According to a state police narrative, the union leaders were trying to find out why two invoices for recruit uniforms were past due, eventually leading members to go to the bank to gain access to the account.
Looking at a bank statement from that month, union leaders found multiple concerning transactions, including a gym subscription.
After that, the police narrative said union leaders accessed more transactions, eventually revealing $103,653.56 in unauthorized purchases.
Target 12 went through purchases between 2017 and 2022, finding unauthorized bookings for hotels totaling $26,048.05 and flights totaling $21,486.47.
A spokesperson for the city said Cochran resigned from the fire department on Feb. 3.
The police narrative shows an affidavit was signed for his arrest the day before and Cochran turned himself in to state police on Feb. 9, when he was released on bond.
Target 12 reached out to Cochran for comment but have not yet heard back. He is scheduled to be back in court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 5.