Dallas Firefighter Accused of Saying He Had COVID to Get Time Off From Work

A firefighter in Dallas, Texas, was arrested Friday after officials alleged that he and his family lied about testing positive for COVID-19 in order to receive paid time off for a vacation.

William Carter, 38, was arrested and charged with felony theft, according to local news outlet WFAA.

The arrest warrant alleges that Carter, who works at Fire Station 7 in Dallas, lied about a positive virus diagnoses for himself, his spouse and his child. As a result, Carter received more than $12,000 in paid sick leave from the Dallas-Fire Rescue.

During the pandemic, firefighters in Dallas who are exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 are given paid time off without having to use their own sick days, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue. This benefit is also extended to a firefighter with family members who test positive for the virus.

Dallas Fire-Rescue
A Dallas firefighter was arrested after being accused of lying about having COVID-19 in order to receive paid time off. Here, fire fighters from the Dallas Fire-Rescue are seen saluting a funeral procession on July 14, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. Justin Sullivan//Getty Images

Court documents show that Carter first requested COVID-19 paid leave on March 24 after claiming that his spouse tested positive. One week later, Carter reported to his deputy chief that his daughter also tested positive for the virus, allowing him to receive an additional week of paid time off.

After another week passed, the warrant said that Carter then "reported to [his deputy chief] he was not feeling well and had tested positive for COVID-19 per his test results," according to WFAA.

In total, court documents say Carter received $12,548.86 in three payrolls over the course of his leave. The funds were coded as "COVID leave," and were paid from the City of Dallas General Funds, which is a collection of tax dollars, sales taxes and fines.

After an investigation by the Dallas Police Department, Carter was asked to provide a copy of his positive test results, at which point he admitted that he had not been tested for COVID-19. He was then asked to provide medical notes to prove that his family tested positive, but could not provide that documentation either, the news outlet reported.

Detectives subpoenaed Carter's bank records and believe that he vacationed to a resort waterpark in Round Rock, Texas, during his paid time off.

When asked by the fire department why he lied about having COVID-19, Carter replied "Greed, I guess," according to court documents.

Carter was booked early Friday morning at the Dallas County jail with a $1,500 bond.

Dallas Fire-Rescue told Newsweek Saturday that Carter is currently under an internal investigation and has been placed on administrative leave, but would not provide additional comment on this incident.