Former Rural fire chief, wife charged

Tuesday February 26, 2013


Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Former Bennington Rural Fire Department Chief Joseph Hayes was arrested by Bennington Police on Friday for alleged fraudulent actions related to a department-sponsored raffle.

Hayes, who lost his bid to be re-elected as chief of the department last month, was cited for false pretenses and embezzlement, Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said Monday. Hayes, 43, was elected to the department's Prudential Committee last month, but the alleged offenses took place while he was chief.

Hayes' wife, Angela, was also cited for being an accessory to Hayes' false pretenses charge.

"This all stems from a raffle at the Bennington Rural Fire Department while he was the chief where, allegedly, people who won prizes as a result of the raffle never received them. There is an allegation that money that people paid for raffle tickets was never turned over to the department," Doucette said.

The case is still under investigation, according to Doucette. Both Hayes and his wife have been cited to be arraigned in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on March 25.

Hayes is on probation after pleading guilty last month to a charge of disorderly conduct. That conviction stemmed from an incident at an emergency scene last June where Hayes threw a flashlight at a vehicle.

He was originally charged in July with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, and unlawful mischief. The state dropped the mischief charge and Hayes agreed to go before a reparative board within four months.

The case is to be sealed and not show up on Hayes' record if he completes the board's directions.

Hayes also faced an embezzlement charge in 2007, but was referred to the court diversion program.

Contact Neal P. Goswami at, or follow on Twitter @nealgoswami


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