David Freda former Hernando Beach (HB) Volunteer Fire Chief was arrested on Sept. 29, 2017 along with other former HB volunteer fire chiefs David Lee Murdock and Travis Morris for organized fraud. Freda entered a not guilty plea on Oct. 31, 2017 for charges of organized fraud over $50,000. Murdock and Morris have also pled not guilty.
Freda’s probable cause affidavit reads in part:
“There is probable cause to believe that the defendant, along with two co-defendants [Murdock and Morris], conspired to receive monthly payments in the amount of $29,653.11 in unauthorized salary from the victims' tax funds which were received as payroll wages and which were many times written and signed by the defendant himself. This is also in direct conflict with the agreement made with BOCC and US Code 553. 106 of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act in regards to volunteer firefighters.”
Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. presides over Freda's case.
The Hernando Sun will continue to monitor developments in the cases involving the former Hernando Beach fire chiefs.