Boston Fire district chief convicted of stealing city funds

Boston Fire Department district chief Edward A. Scigliano IV was convicted of stealing $46,000 in city money to pay credit card bills and purchase a gas grill and a large screen television.
Boston Fire Department district chief Edward A. Scigliano IV was convicted of stealing $46,000 in city money to pay credit card bills and purchase a gas grill and a large screen television. Justin Saglio for The Boston Globe

A district chief in the Boston Fire Department was convicted Tuesday of stealing $46,000 in city money to pay credit card bills and purchase a gas grill and a large screen television, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said.

Edward A. Scigliano IV, 46, was convicted on five counts of procurement fraud and five counts of larceny over $250 and faces sentencing in Suffolk Superior Court on Feb. 25, Healey’s office said. He is on unpaid leave from the Fire Department.

“This defendant abused his position as a public employee and stole tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars that should have gone back to the city of Boston,” Healey said in a prepared statement. “Our office is committed to holding accountable public employees who exploit their position for personal profit and defy the public’s trust.”


Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn said in a telephone interview that he will seek Scigliano’s termination under civil service rules, unless he resigns first. Scigliano holds the civil service rank of district chief.

Finn, who attended portions of Scigliano’s trial, said he violated the trust the public has in Boston firefighters.

“I find this disappointing and troubling,’’ he said. “The public puts a lot of trust in us and I want to make sure that we are deserving of that trust, and that we do the right thing every time.’’

Scigliano testified in his own defense and jurors deliberated for about two days before reaching their verdict. They began deliberating last Wednesday but were disrupted by the two snowstorms.

Michael Doolin, Scigliano’s defense attorney, said both he and his client were disappointed by the guilty verdicts. “Certainly we respect the hard work that jurors did,’’ Doolin said in a telephone interview. “We are disappointed with the verdict.”

Doolin called Scigliano a “wonderful family man” who has done “quite heroic things’’ while a Boston firefighter, information that he plans to emphasize when his client is sentenced later this month.


According to city records, Scigliano was one of eight firefighters issued a unit citation for saving a fellow firefighter who was slipping from a roof in 1999.

In 2006, he and another firefighter were cited when they saw a capsized canoe off the shores of Moon Island. The two grabbed the canoe and paddled out to canoeists from Outward Bound, staying with them until a rescue boat arrived, records show.

According to court records, Scigliano’s actions took place under former Boston fire commissioner Roderick Fraser, Finn’s immediate predecessor as the department’s leader. Fraser testified as a prosecution witness during the trial.

Finn said internal controls have been changed since he took over, including a strict adherence to the chain of command.

He applauded Healey’s office for devoting extensive resources into the investigation that took several years to complete.

“They left no stone unturned; they were methodical and ethical,’’ he said.

Doolin argued to jurors that the spending was part of Scigliano’s attempt to improve the Boston Fire Academy, where he was the drillmaster. But Fraser testified Scigliano did not have permission to buy supplies with his personal credit card and then be reimbursed by the city.

During the trial, Mark MacDonald, a vice president at Greenwood Emergency Vehicles Inc., testified that his company did millions of dollars of business with the city and that Scigliano was his contact. The city would often modify purchase orders on equipment, leaving a balance in the city’s favor with the company, he testified.


MacDonald said that Scigliano told him he was authorized to collect the money and was issued two checks, one totaling $9,900 and a second for $17,808.

Both checks were made out to the Bank of America, not the city, according to testimony.

Prosecutors also contended that Scigliano directed an equipment vendor, Northeast Rescue Systems Inc., to buy $17,000 worth of items for Scigliano’s personal use, including a 52-inch HD TV, a gas grill, a living room set, and an elliptical machine.

Scigliano was on paid administrative leave for 2½ years while he was under investigation, but has been on unpaid leave since being indicted in the fall of 2014, officials said.

Scigliano joined the department in July 1996 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2002, captain in 2005, and district chief in 2012, according to department records. He earned an average of $162,000 a year between 2008 and 2014, according to city payroll records.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.