Former Woodland fire chief accused of fraud

VANCOUVER, Wash. - The city of Woodland's former fire chief, who was also a candidate for City Council in the last election, was in a Cowlitz County courtroom Tuesday morning accused of ripping off an elderly woman.

Tony Brentin's wife, Shari, is also accused off ripping of 75-year-old Suzanne Taylor Moore Faveluke.

According to court papers, Tony Brentin asked Faveluke for $5,000 for his city council campaign; instead, he used it to pay off a housing debt.

Claiming to others to be Faveluke's caregiver and daughter, Shari Brentin talked Faveluke into giving her $10,000 for Brentin's sick cat, playing off Faveluke's feelings for a dog she had just lost.

Brentin used most of the money for her own bills.

"The only thing I can assume is they had so many bad breaks that they thought it was better to try to get money no matter how they could get it to survive," said Faveluke.

It was Faveluke's bank that noticed unusually large sums of money being withdrawn. A bank manager called police.

Faveluke is an artist, a writer and an actress who's made some sizable donations to local charities. She says she will now be sure to limit her giving to groups she knows she can trust and not to individuals.

Tony Brentin doesn't have any prior arrests. He's not allowed to talk to Faveluke. Brentin is out of jail on his own recognizance but has another court date later this month.