KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A former firefighter at the Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department has been sentenced for a felony charge of embezzlement.

According to the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Steven Paul “PJ” Johnson was sentenced to five years of supervised provision and ordered to pay $26,958.60 in restitution. He will also be required to complete community service.

Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2022 before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit. He was originally charged in February 2022.

A criminal complaint says that Johnson acted as the “de facto” treasurer of the department.

According to the complaint, Johnson completed a cashier’s check from the CVFD’s general expense account made payable to City National Bank in the amount of $4,500 on Sept. 4, 2019. The memo section of the check is said to have said “aep,” indicating that the check would be used to cover utility bills. The complaint says that Johnson then requested 45 $100 bills.

The prosecuting attorney’s office says the investigation found that over time while he had access to the CVFD’s funds, Johnson embezzled and spent the department’s money on multiple purchases from including a fitness tracker, jewelry, photography, clothing for his motorcycle club, alcohol, Amazon Digital Services and Netflix.

As part of Johnson’s sentencing, the prosecuting attorney’s office says he is prohibited from serving in any fiduciary capacity or as a volunteer firefighter while on probation.