Hamilton firefighter on leave after being indicted for forgery, theft

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A Hamilton firefighter is facing multiple felony charges for allegedly submitting forged medical documents, and as a result, receiving thousands in pay.

Anthony Houston, of Cincinnati, was indicted Thursday by a Butler County grand jury on four felony counts of forgery and one felony count of theft. The alleged crimes occurred from August 2015 to September 2016.

Houston is accused of submitting forged medical documents, and as a result, receiving pay of about $5,800, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

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“The charges represent the pay he received during the days the false doctors’ slips were presented,” Gmoser said.

The prosecutor’s office requested a summons be issued for Houston rather than having him taken into custody.

“I do not consider him a flight risk and he is not a danger to the public,” Gmoser said.

Houston, a 22-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid leave pending a pre-disciplinary hearing and the outcome of his criminal case, according to Scott Scrimizzi, Director of Public Safety for the City of Hamilton.

“This type of behavior is intolerable,” Scrimizzi said “Public servants are held to the highest of standards and we will not breach the public’s trust.”

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Last year a similar case was as prosecuted when a Middletown Division of Fire captain submitted a fake doctor's note to extend his medical leave.

Greg Justice of Springboro, pleaded guilty to forgery and retired from the department. He was placed on three years probation. He forged his doctor’s signature on medical records that allowed him to stay at home rather than returning to duty from medical leave.

Discrepancies on paperwork submitted by Justice raised suspicions with Middleown fire officials, according to prosecutors.

Gmoser said it is a coincidence that the similar cases involve fire departments, but said such fraudulent activity may be more widespread than is known.

“I doubt very much if it is just isolated to fire departments. The opportunity to use the human resources department for submission of doctors excuses can get loose, not only in government, but in private employment too,” Gmoser said.

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