FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A former Fort Lauderdale firefighter wanted for allegedly forging documents and official misconduct appeared in court Friday, just hours after being taken into custody.
Michael Reimer is charged with uttering a false instrument, falsifying an official document, grand theft and a conspiracy charge, according to court records. He was booked into Broward County’s Main Jail early Friday.
In court Friday morning, he was ordered to post at $300,000 bond in order to get out of jail. He also has to turn in his passport and any guns he may own.
Police say he and 4 current Fort Lauderdale firefighters got phony Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certifications that qualified them for a pay increase.
Reimer, who recently retired from the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, owns the company Safety Solutions Inc., which was listed as the training site for the questionable certification. According to the arrest affidavit, Safety Solution Inc. was not approved to teach the advanced cardiovascular life support course.
He also allegedly submitted the false certification, along with the other four, to comply with a state law that requires firefighters and paramedics to be certified and a hold a certificate of successful course completion in advanced cardiac life support from the American Heart Association. When the certificates expire every two years, firefighters and paramedics must take the course again and get a new certification.
The ACLS certification boosted firefighters’ salaries by 10 to 15 percent, prosecutors said.
One of the four firefighters accused in the scam bonded out of jail after appearing before a judge Thursday.
During the hearing, a judge ruled that Freddie Batista had met the financial requirements for bail and could be released from jail once he posts the $50,000 bond.
On his way out of the Broward Jail, Batista said he was proud to be a Fort Lauderdale firefighter and that he believes he was targeted, though he did not elaborate. Instead, he told reporters to talk to Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak for details.
Firefighters Gregory Jones, 28, and Joseph Perri, 27, were also accused of submitting the fraudulent cards and were each ordered held on $25,000 and $20,000 bail, respectively. They posted bond later Thursday.
Also implicated in the case were firefighters Steve Loleski, 35, who appeared in court Wednesday, and David Mercado, 46, who was charged with a misdemeanor of falsifying public records.