A Bucks County, Pennsylvania jury convicted the former treasurer of the defunct Morrisville Ambulance Squad of theft and insurance fraud Tuesday for stealing over $100,000 in funds from the organization, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Ruth “Roxy” Rookstool, 59, who was also the squad’s operations supervisor, was led out of court in handcuffs following a guilty verdict on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts, and after the judge increased her bail to $100,000, the office said.
The jury deliberated just over an hour after four days of testimony. "The jury returned a quick and thoughtful verdict,” Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber said in a statement. "We’re pleased that we were able to bring the defendant to justice and we look forward to seeing her held accountable at sentencing.”
Rookstool, of Morrisville, and its former chief, Brian M. Eckert, 42, of Falls, Pa. were arrested on theft and fraud crimes in November 2018 for stealing from the squad from 2011 to the summer of 2018, when the EMS service started winding down its operations, after several years of financial problems. The squad stopped answering emergency calls on Nov. 1, 2018.
Authorities alleged the two used squad money and resources to steal or divert $130,000 for personal use or expenses, about $100,00 for Rookstool and the rest for Eckert.
Eckert and Rookstool were also accused of fraudulently enrolling Rookstool in health and dental insurance paid for by the squad. The squad was a combination volunteer and career staff, but Rookstool did not qualify for medical benefits, investigators said last year.
Eckert took a deal in July, pleading guilty to misdemeanor counts for his role, and agreed to testify at Rookstool’s trial, the district attorney’s office said.
The judge deferred Rookstool’s sentencing pending a pre-sentence investigation. Eckert is free on bail and scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Capital Health in Trenton, New Jersey took over EMS service to Morrisville and a portion of neighboring Falls Township that the Morrisville squad had served.