OC Sheriff’s Department Investigating Internal Time-Off Scam

September 14, 2020 Updated: September 14, 2020

The Orange County, California, Sheriff’s Department has opened an internal investigation into seven employees who allegedly used faked military documents as a way to get time off.

The department announced in a Sept. 11 news release that it suspected one deputy and six other employees, all of whom are military reservists, of submitting illegitimate military orders to the department that allowed them to get paid time off with the belief they were fulfilling their obligations as reservists.

The department identified a “potential discrepancy” with the deputy’s military orders in January, according to the release. The deputy, who worked in custody operations, was in the Army Reserves.

A review of all orders submitted by departmental reservists was ordered at that time.

Sgt. Dennis Breckner told The Epoch Times that the fraudulent military orders were discovered when supervisors noticed inconsistencies in the submissions, prompting the department to launch an investigation.

He said the department is looking into the possibility of a conspiracy.

“It’s part of the internal investigation as to whether or not these cases are related,” Breckner said.

“In other words, do these people know each other, did they communicate. … That is something we’re looking into.”

Breckner said the department is not releasing the names of the deputy or the six other suspected employees because the internal investigation remains open.

The department says the allegations have been referred to “the proper federal authorities for investigation” due to their nature.

To date, one deputy has been released on probation. The other six suspects have been placed on administrative leave pending both criminal and internal investigations, according to the news release.

“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,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in the Sept. 11 release.

“The actions of these seven individuals do not represent the values of this organization and absolutely do not reflect upon the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who have courageously served our country as members of our armed forces.”

The investigation was announced the day after another sheriff’s deputy, Steven Hortz, was arrested for allegedly breaking into a dead man’s home in Yorba Linda on multiple occasions and stealing property including weapon safes and ceiling fans.