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A Firefighter Allegedly Lied About Getting COVID-19 To Get Paid Sick Time And Then Went To A Resort

He was allegedly paid more than $12,000 while on leave, during which he went on a resort vacation.

Posted on August 4, 2021, at 5:13 p.m. ET

An ambulance with its lights on pulls out from Dallas Fire-Rescue Station 37
LM Otero / AP

A Dallas firefighter allegedly lied about having COVID-19 to take paid sick time and then went on vacation to a water park resort, where he spent nearly $1,500 on entertainment, lodging, and food.

William Jordan Carter, 38, was arrested on Friday, charged with felony theft, and released on bail. Neither the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department nor the firefighters union immediately responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

According to a Dallas Police Department detective's arrest warrant affidavit, Carter told his deputy fire chief in March that his wife had COVID-19 and that he needed time off, which was granted. A week later, he said his daughter had contracted the virus and that he would need an additional week off, which was also granted. Finally, two days before he was supposed to return to work, he claimed he had COVID-19 himself and needed more time off. The deputy chief then asked for proof of the diagnosis with a COVID-19 test, which Carter was unable to provide, the affidavit said.

Carter allegedly admitted he didn't get tested but had told the deputy chief that he suspected he had COVID-19. He was also unable to provide doctors' notes regarding his wife and daughter.

He then admitted to not telling the truth, the affidavit said; when the deputy chief asked him why he had lied about the diagnosis, Carter responded, "Greed, I guess."

"Just so you wouldn't have to go to work," the deputy chief responded. "Yes," Carter said, according to the affidavit.

An aerial view of swimming pools lined with deck chairs at a resort
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions / Via kalaharimedia.com

According to bank statements reproduced in the affidavit, Carter was paid for this time off. The city deposited more than $12,000 in his bank account. The bank statement also showed that while he was allegedly pretending to be sick, he spent nearly $1,500 on entertainment, lodging, and food at the Kalahari resort in Round Rock, Texas, which is billed as the US's largest indoor water park.

"Suspect Carter took advantage of recommendations for First Responders to not report to work if they tested positive or became exposed to a person confirmed positive for COVID-19, with whom they lived," Dallas Police Department Detective Lee Allen wrote in the affidavit.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.