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A former Miles City man who admitted forging documents to try to become a certified firefighting instructor will spend 10 months in federal prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier sentenced David Monington on Feb. 1 in Rapid City, S.D., to the prison term and imposed $5,000 restitution.

Monington pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud that occurred in May 2006.

Prosecutors said Monington used FedEx Express to send fraudulent documents from South Dakota to the National Wildfire Suppression Association in Lyon, Ore., in an effort to become a certified firefighter instructor. The documents contained forged signatures of firefighting officials and falsely claimed firefighting certificates he didn’t have. Names and signatures were misspelled and titles were incorrectly listed, the indictment said.

Being a certified instructor would have allowed Monington to receive higher pay while working wildland fires.

Prior to the South Dakota charges, Monington pleaded guilty in state court in Custer County in 2008 to two misdemeanor bad check charges. He initially was charged with four felony counts, including theft, theft of property, issuing bad checks and deceptive practices.

While in Miles City, Monington said he was fire chief for Midwest Fire Suppression. He worked as a part-time firefighter in Miles City, but Fire Chief Derek Rogers discovered that Monington had drafted his own firefighting training certificates and forged the instructors’ names.

Monington was accused of buying radios and firefighter accessories on the Internet and not paying for them. He also was accused of writing bad checks to Miles City businesses.

A judge sentenced Monington in August 2008 to six months in jail on each count, suspended, and ordered $2,178 restitution. He did not pay restitution and the suspension was revoked. Monington was sentenced again in December to the same sentence, which was suspended. Restitution has not been paid.

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