Then, two days before he was set to return to work, Carter, 38, called a third time, claiming he had also tested positive for the coronavirus, court records state. His employer approved one more round of paid time off. Altogether, the city paid Carter nearly $12,600 for the time he was out of work.
It wasn’t until the deputy chief asked the firefighter to turn in copies of the positive test results that Carter confessed he’d made the whole thing up, prosecutors said.
The firefighter was not stuck at his Rowlett, Tex., home recovering from the virus, copies of his bank records obtained by detectives show. For at least some of the time, Carter was vacationing at a Texas resort, where he spent close to $1,500 in lodging, meals and entertainment.
“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,” prosecutors said in a three-page arrest affidavit.
Carter, who faces a felony theft charge, could not immediately be reached by The Washington Post late Tuesday. Court records do not indicate who is representing him.
Officials with the city of Dallas did not immediately respond to a message from The Post. A spokesperson with the fire department declined to comment on the case citing it does not discuss “personnel matters.”
Carter is not the first person accused of faking a covid-19 diagnosis. In May 2020, a Georgia man was charged with defrauding his employer after prosecutors said he falsely claimed he had the virus. About a month earlier, the FBI warned companies that some employees might exploit the pandemic by faking coronavirus test results.
Days after Carter allegedly called the fire department to report his family members’ covid cases, his supervisor requested proof of illness. First, prosecutors said, Carter said he had not actually been tested for the virus but was certain he had it. His supervisor later scheduled a coronavirus test appointment for Carter.
In a follow-up phone call, Carter — when pressed by his supervisor — also could not provide documentation on his family members’ infections, prosecutors said.
When his supervisor asked whether any of the firefighter’s claims were true, Carter allegedly replied, “I guess not.”
“What made you do this?” his supervisor then asked.
“Greed, I guess,” Carter answered, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Just so you wouldn’t have to go to work?” his supervisor asked.
“Yes,” Carter said, per the affidavit.
The bank statements later obtained by detectives showed Carter allegedly spent $1,470.78 between April 15 and April 18 while vacationing at a Kalahari water park resort in Round Rock, Tex., that has a spa, salon and multiple restaurants.
In total, the city paid Carter $12,548.86 in three payroll transactions during his leave, according to detectives.
Authorities arrested Carter on Friday. He appeared in court that same day, and a judge set his bail at $1,500, court records state. As of early Wednesday, it was unclear whether he had posted bail.
Carter is under internal investigation and on administrative leave, a spokesperson with the fire department told The Post in an email.