1. #1
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    Thumbs down Firefighter charged with fraud

    Firefighter charged with fraud

    Oakland County deputies arrest suspect at Warren fire station.

    PUBLISHED: April 22, 2006

    By Norb Franz
    Macomb Daily Staff Writer

    A Warren firefighter was charged Friday with defrauding four suburban fire departments and several paramedic students for teaching courses not approved by the state.

    Oakland County sheriff's deputies arrested Jeffrey Alan Brown, 42, at the Warren Fire Station on 12 Mile near Ryan Road.

    Sheriff's officials said Brown submitted forged documents in an attempt to show the 12-month course was approved and sponsored. He is accused of bilking 11 people who individually paid $3,000 in tuition, plus the departments who sent students through the 12-month course in 2004, for a total of $67,500 in fees.

    "All of us in public safety, whether it's police, fire, EMS, we kind of view each other as a family," Oakland Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. "To have a member of the family perpetuate a fraud, not only of money but a big chunk of their (victims') life down the drain, it's really disappointing."

    Brown was arrested without incident around 7:15 a.m. He was arraigned in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills on two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses of at least $20,000. The charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine equal to $15,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is more.

    Brown was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond set by Judge Nancy Carniak.

    Using taxpayer funds, the departments that paid Brown for the course include the Addison Township, Brandon Township, Groveland Township and Oxford fire departments.

    In 2004, Oxford contacted Brown, who holds Michigan paramedic and instructor licenses, to see if he could instruct a state-approved course that would prepare students to take the National Registry Examination and become state-licensed paramedics. Brown agreed, and the departments and individual students began paying him for what municipal officials believed was a state-approved and sanctioned course that began in September 2004.

    Two months later, the Auburn Hills Fire Department contacted a state contractor that verifies whether paramedic classes comply with laws and regulations to determine if the course at Oxford was state-approved.

    Investigators allege Brown forged documents.

    Last November, Brown notified the contractor, SWM Systems, of students who completed the course and were ready to take the national exam. The notification indicated the course was sponsored by Superior Medical Education -- a company where Brown formerly worked. But the firm denied sponsoring the course in Oxford, police said.

    According to an Oakland Sheriff's Department report, Brown formerly worked at SWM Systems and Superior Medical Education. Officials allege he again used forged documents to show the Michigan Department of Community Health that the course was sponsored. Bouchard said Brown used corporate letterhead and logos to commit forgeries.

    The victimized fire departments and students who still have to take a state-approved course to qualify for the national exam, are shocked and angered to be cheated out of their time and money.

    "At this point, we have no reason to believe anyone else is involved" in the fraud, Bouchard said. He said investigators have identified all known victims to this point, but added, "That doesn't mean others won't pop up."

    Warren officials suspended Brown with pay on Friday, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. With the rank of fire fighter/advanced emergency medical technician, his base salary is $66,188.

    Joe Munem, the city's communications director, said it does not appear Brown used any city equipment or materials to teach the course. However, Warren administrators nevertheless plan to delve into the allegations on their own, and hope the Oakland County Sheriff's Department will provide information to assist.

    "I know that they had communicated with the fire department at some point. The extent of that communication I'm unaware of," Munem said. "We need to figure more about this ourselves."

    Brown was hired by the city of Warren and joined the firefighting force in 1999. He and 33 other firefighters in Macomb County's most-populated community were laid off July 1, 2004. He and several others were called back to duty after the sharply divided firefighters' union voted to give up pay raises in order to save some jobs, and after others retired.

  2. #2
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    Dickey's Avatar
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    Angry Makes me mad!

    hang 'em high!!

    I agree with the family statement. Makes it even worse.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    Great. A new target for the people that already hate us.

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    What was this guy thinking ? - Sure he was licensed to teach and all that but to defraud your students out of over $60,000.00 is downright criminal behavior. -- He had no intention on caring if the students passed the course or not. He saw what he believed was a money making oppurtunity that no one would ever detect or question. He deserves the maximum punishment, loss of all Paramedic Certification {Including no chance to ever re-new} loss of his job so that maybe an honest person could have it.

    More embezzlement in the Fire Service.....Where and when will it end ?

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    Exclamation UPDATE No pay, benefits for accused firefighter

    Man suspended but not fired

    PUBLISHED: April 29, 2006

    By Norb Franz
    Macomb Daily Staff Writer

    The suspension of a Warren firefighter arrested last week on fraud charges was revised Thursday to eliminate his pay and taxpayer-funded health insurance while his criminal case is pending.

    The accused firefighter, Jeffrey Alan Brown, signed an agreement Thursday that relieves him of his wages and benefits, retroactive to Tuesday, a spokesman for Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh said.

    "He has not been fired," said Joe Munem, the city's communications director. "By doing this (agreement), he avoided a disciplinary hearing with us.

    "We don't waive our right to formally discipline him in the future, nor does the union waive its right to challenge any action we may take."

    Brown is entitled to receive payment for upcoming vacation days, continued to accrue seniority and can purchase health insurance on his own at the rate of the city's premiums.

    "We're not going to take away what he's earned," Munem said.

    With the rank of fire fighter/AEMT, Brown's base salary was $66,188.

    The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office and the Sheriff 's Department allege Brown, 42, bilked four suburban fire departments and several paramedic students in 2004 out of $67,500 in tuition for teaching paramedic courses not approved by the state. Authorities said he submitted forged documents to show the 12-month course was approved and sponsored.

    Deputies arrested him April 21 at the Warren Fire Station on 12 Mile near Ryan Road, and city officials suspended him that day, initially with pay.

    He faces two counts of obtaining $20,000 or more by false pretenses. The offense is a felony carrying a prison term of up to 10 years and/or fine of $15,000 or three times the amount involved, whichever is more.

    Brown, a resident of Flushing, is free on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 4 in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.

    Brown is a state-licensed advanced emergency medical technician and instructor. He taught paramedic courses ostensibly to prepare students to take the National Registry Examination. Fire departments in the village of Oxford and Addison Township, Brandon Township and Groveland Township used taxpayer dollars to pay the tuition he charged.

    Except for an approximate 6-month layoff in 2004, Brown has been employed in the Warren Fire Department since 1999.

    Scott Halleck, president of Warren Professional Fire Fighters Local 1383, could not be reached for comment Thursday

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    You know; I'm not reading anything that would give ANY indication that a simple error/mistake was made. An administrative snafu, perhaps?
    But all indications are that some type of activity that on the surface gives rise to fraud has been committed.
    If tried and convicted and sentenced to the max, that will figure out to approximately $6000 for the next 10 years; far below his current salary of $66,000 plus per year.
    There should be more to come on this one.
    CR
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    Sometimes I wonder if these people realize that what they do reflects on all of us in this profession. If they do something good, it makes all of us look good, and if they do something idiotic and stupid like that we all look like a bunch of criminals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey

    I agree with the family statement.

    I definatly agree...we are all one family and look out for each other.
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
    ------------------------------------

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    ...and not even the courtesy of a reach-around...
    Proud member of the IACOJ.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you....

    "It seemed like a good idea at the time..."

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