Convicted Mt. SAC fire chief back in court

Mt. San Antonio College’s former fire chief,
who was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from students and the
school last year, said in court Friday that he was simply trying to
help fund the school’s cash-strapped Fire Technology Program.

Jerry Dewayne Austin’s testimony came during his restitution and sentencing hearing at Pomona Superior Court on Friday.

Austin, of Norco, was the director of Mt. SAC’s fire program
from 2003 until last year, when he was arrested on charges that he
created a fraudulent bank account to store up to $1 million stolen from
his students and the college.

Authorities and school officials said Austin overcharged
students for equipment and uniforms and deposited that money, along with
charitable funds, in a fraudulent bank account from 2005 to 2010.

In December, Austin pleaded no contest to 16 felony charges –
two felony counts of identity theft, two felony counts of forgery and 12
felony counts of grand theft.

Read more in Juliette Funes story AUSTIN.