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Former fire department association treasurer charged with swindling funds

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A former treasurer stands accused of using funds from the Minnesota State Fire Department Association for personal expenses including online dating fees and a vacation in Mexico. 

  A Ramsey County prosecutor charged Anthony Bronk, 42, with stealing a total of $188,000 from 2010 to 2014 from the MSFDA, according to a statement Monday from the attorney's office. Bronk also was charged with trying to pass thousands of dollars in forged checks.

  Isanti County Sergeant Lisa Lovering said Bronk, of Hugo, used a credit card from the Minnesota State Fire Department Association to pay for "all-inclusive vacations to Cozumel, Mexico," his BMW's maintenance and membership fees to dating sites such as eHarmony and Christian Mingle.  Bronk "bought jewelry, went skiing, went to bars and restaurants, bought gas, bought flowers and even bought yard signs for his campaign for the Hugo City Council," according to the criminal complaint.

  For about three years as treasurer, Bronk allegedly forged the MSFDA's president's signature to checks for some legitimate purposes, but also to cover his expenses for a total of $53,606.84, "which were not for legitimate purposes."

Bronk could not reached for this story.  MSFDA president Mark Rosenblum declined comment.

  The criminal complaint originally was filed in Washington County District Court.

  "Given his former role as a Hugo City Council member, the Washington County Attorney's Office has re-directed this case to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest," Ramsey County Attorney spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein said in an emailed statement on Monday.

  Bronk is scheduled to make his first court appearance on February 18.