Sailor charged with impersonating paramedic
A 23-year-old sailor faces charges of impersonating a medical services worker after he allegedly volunteered for a local rescue squad and rode on calls — all while lacking state certification in emergency medical skills.
Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Benjamin S. Taylor was indicted by a Gloucester County, Va., Circuit Court grand jury July 5 on charges of impersonating a medical services worker, impersonating a police officer and two counts of forgery, said Robert D. Hicks, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Gloucester County.
Up until March, Taylor was assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1 at the Cheatham Annex in Williamsburg, Va.
Taylor volunteered to ride with the Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue squad in Gloucester County in December, allegedly using a forged document that stated he was a state-certified Emergency Medical Services technician, Hicks said.
“He was put on the squad and went out on calls,” he said.
Members of the rescue squad got concerned about whether Taylor was actually certified, and their concerns ultimately resulted in a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation, Hicks said.
Taylor allegedly supplied two forged letters from Navy officers, one as a letter of recommendation and the second that stated he had received training as a hospital corpsman, he said.
The sailor also faces a charge of impersonating a police officer, for allegedly wearing a police-style uniform while on the grounds of a mobile home park where he lives, Hicks said.
A conviction on a forgery charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years, while the impersonation charges can bring a year each, he said.
As of July 8, Taylor was in custody at the Gloucester County jail.
There were no incidents where Taylor’s presence caused anyone any harm, Hicks said.
Phillip Veek, assistant chief of Emergency Medical Services for the rescue squad, said Taylor was allowed to ride on calls as an observer, but was not allowed to administer any care to patients.
Veek said he kept asking Taylor to show him his state-issued EMS certification card, but that Taylor kept coming up with excuses for why he didn’t have it with him.
Veek, a retired Coast Guard master chief, said that when he first met Taylor, he was wearing a Navy uniform with E-6 crows. Veek also said Taylor had some sort of NCIS identification in his wallet, and a Navy ID card that listed him as a petty officer second class.
Veek said he reported his concerns about Taylor to the state Office of Emergency Medical Services. An official with that office said Taylor had started an EMT training program with a private company in James City County, Va. in January.
Navy records also show that Taylor, who joined the Navy in August 1999, attended Hospital Corpsman “A” School after finishing boot camp, but apparently did not complete it.