According to a recent online news report published on PNJ.com, four individuals who worked for the Escambia County Emergency Medical Services were arrested after the conclusion of an investigation of potential falsifying of training documentation. According to statements made in a press release distributed from the office of State Attorney Bill Eddins. The arrests made were part of a lengthy and detailed investigation launched by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The investigation was centered on allegations that the Escambia County Emergency Medical Services official records were being falsified.
In the news report, the former EMS Captain, the former EMS Chief, and a former interim EMS manager had been arrested. The only current EMS employee to be arrested was a paramedic and the former head of the office of administration. The EMS employee was terminated on Tuesday. According to the online news report, Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley stated that the EMS employee had been fired "effective immediately" and that a government worker cannot be employed with the government and have criminal charges pending. Therefore, Escambia County Administrator Gilley terminated the EMS employee. Escambia County Administrator Gilley then was quoted stating that the county will cooperate with the State Attorney's Office. Gilley also stated that there would continue to be changes made at both the EMS and the Public Safety Department.
The criminal charges filed against the former EMS employees allege a lengthy history of falsification of training documents with regards to their internal training courses, which are required in order for EMT and paramedic licensing purposes. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's arrest affidavits, those in high ranking positions and "course instructors" received the alleged falsifications. The courses included pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, pediatric emergency assessment, recognition, and stabilization.
The charges vary between the suspects and, in total, include racketeering, official misconduct, forgery, paramedic license fraud, and uttering a forged instrument. Official misconduct, racketeering, uttering a forged instrument charges, and forgery are all felony charges in the State of Florida. The criminal charge of Paramedic License Fraud is a second-degree misdemeanor in the first offense and a first-degree felony in subsequent offenses.
Florida Paramedic License Fraud Charges
According to Florida Statute 401.41, , it is a crime in the State of Florida to "Knowingly making false or fraudulent claims; procuring, attempting to procure, or renewing a certificate, license, or permit by fakery, fraudulent action, or misrepresentation." If found guilty of Paramedic License Fraud, the convicted will receive a second-degree misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record, a fine of up to $500, and a jail sentence of up to 60 days in jail. The punishments for a first-degree misdemeanor are a fine of up to $1,000, and a jail sentence of up to 1 year in jail.