Green River, Wyoming (March 2, 2020) – According to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, a months-long investigation into the suspected embezzlement of donated funds from the City of Green River, Wyo. Fire Department (GRFD) Foundation culminated today with the arrests of Green River Fire Department Chief Michael Nomis, 50, and his wife, Stephanie Nomis, 46.
In November of last year, sheriff’s detectives served search warrants to obtain bank records associated with the GRFD Foundation. In January of this year, detectives served additional search warrants at Green River City Hall and GRFD for corresponding and related financial records.
The GRFD Foundation was established to supplement the budget provided to the fire department from the city. The Foundation Fund actually includes three separate bank accounts that are designated for different purposes (i.e., equipment, victim services, etc.), but each of these accounts holds money that is donated by local community organizations and businesses until it is needed by the fire department. The GRFD Foundation also has a social fund that is subsidized directly from the paychecks of the department’s volunteer firefighters. Any expenditure from any of these four accounts is strictly regulated by both Foundation and City bylaws.
According to court documents, a comparison of bank statements with related financial records over the time period of August 2016 through January 2020 reveals a total of at least $125,000 from the three foundation accounts and the social fund that is either missing (and now accounted for through the course of investigation) or that is still unaccounted for (and remains under investigation).
On Friday, Sweetwater County Circuit Court Judge Craig Jones issued bench warrants for Michael and Stephanie Nomis’ arrests. Earlier this morning, sheriff’s detectives, assisted by special agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Southwest Enforcement Team, served the bench warrants, arresting Michael and Stephanie Nomis separately and without incident.
Michael Nomis is charged with felony theft and wrongful appropriation of public property. Stephanie Nomis is charged with felony theft. In Wyoming, theft of $1,000 or more is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both; wrongful appropriate of public property is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.
At the time of this release, both remain in custody without bond at Sweetwater County Detention Center.
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with law.