Published February 28. 2014 2:00PM Updated March 01. 2014 12:22AM
The former training director for American Ambulance, accused of embezzling more than $20,000 from the company, has turned down the state’s offer to plead guilty to a felony larceny charge in exchange for a suspended prison sentence and three years of probation.
Jeffrey S. Howe, 43, of Warwick, R.I., rejected prosecutor David J. Smith’s plea offer during an appearance Friday in New London Superior Court. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein warned Howe that he faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted at trial and given the maximum sentence. He said he understood.
Norwich police charged Howe with first-degree larceny in April 2013, three years after he was fired from his job as director of training for American Professional Education Services, a company associated with American Ambulance. He had been in the position since 2000, traveling throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to provide training for emergency medical technicians.
Howe is accused of submitting falsified mileage reimbursement claims totaling $6,451, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. He is also charged with billing three Rhode Island clients directly for more than $15,500 worth of training he performed using American staff and equipment.
Howe, who posted a $25,000 bond following his arrest, has since been hired as director of training at New England Ambulance in Johnston, R.I., according to his court file. The company is aware of the pending charges.
Howe, who is represented by attorney Jeffrey D. Cedarfield of Bristol, has sued American Ambulance executives Michael Aliano, Stacie Lambert and Gregory Allard in a civil lawsuit, claiming defamation. That case is also pending in New London Superior Court. Contacted by police during the embezzlement investigation, Howe’s attorney said that any financial discrepancies were “based on loose accounting practices” within the accounting office, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.