The allegations first surfaced in January that is now under investigation by federal authorities. Supervisors at the time noticed military order discrepancies that a deputy submitted who was assigned to jails, according to a news release by sheriff’s officials.
#OCSDPIO In January 2020, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified a potential discrepancy with military orders submitted by a Deputy Sheriff. After this discovery, the Sheriff directed a review of all orders submitted by United States Armed Forces reservists. pic.twitter.com/UYnfTXxdy0
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) September 12, 2020
During an internal investigation, it was found that the orders were fakes, the deputy was then placed on administrative leave. For an officer, “Administrative Leave” is another term for paid time off, or a paid vacation.
The department then looked at orders of all the Army reservists in its ranks that had been submitted. Officials found that an additional six employees are suspected of submitting military orders that were fake while they collected paid time off.
One of the deputies involved was given probation, and the other six have been placed on administrative leave until a federal criminal investigation is concluded.
In a statement, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said that “Especially today, as we commemorate the actions of courageous men and women of the armed services on Patriot’s Day, it is a dishonor that these members of our organization took advantage of military service for their own personal gain.”
In only one week, this is the third time that Orange County Sheriff’s deputies have been facing criminal investigations where the details have gone public.
41-year-old Deputy Angelina Cortez was charged on Wednesday for a 2018 incident in which she took a credit card from a theft suspect and then let her son have it. Cortez has been placed on administrative leave.
Another deputy on Thursday named Steve Hortz was caught on surveillance cameras in July while he broke into the home of a man who had died recently. A spokesperson for the department named Carrie Braun said Hortz was placed on paid leave, but the department it’s possible he will be put on unpaid leave.
The names of the deputies who are accused of falsifying the military orders have not been released by the sheriff’s department. No further details have been released.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.