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Conover's ex-fire chief charged with filing false information, state investigators say

Mark Hinson left his position in August 2023. He now faces several fraud-related charges.

CONOVER, N.C. — A former fire chief in Catawba County is now facing a slew of charges accusing him of making false incident reports.

Mark Hinson, who stepped down in August, was arrested and taken to jail on Tuesday according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NC DOI). He was indicted on Sept. 5 by a grand jury.

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The NC DOI said Hinson is charged with 10 counts of improperly accessing a government computer, five counts of common law forgery, one count of submitting a false firefighter certification, and one count of filing a false incident report. He allegedly did so in 2022 and in 2023, and DOI investigators opened up a case after a complaint was filed with the Office of State Fire Marshal, which is a division within the DOI.

Hinson was taken to jail and granted a $68,500 bond. As of publication, he was not listed on the roster of inmates at the Catawba County Detention Facility in Newton.

A court date for Hinson has not yet been set.

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Conover city manager Tom Hart confirmed Hinson's resignation happened Aug. 14, 2023, and that the city government had been cooperating with the DOI investigation in a statement:

The City has been cooperating with an NC Department of Insurance investigation and the DOI has charged the former Fire Chief with several crimes related to providing false information on fire incident reports.

Assistant Chief Mark Stafford is serving as the Interim Fire Chief. The City of Conover and the personnel of the Conover Fire Department remain committed to providing the best fire protection services to our community.

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