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Dallas firefighter arrested after claiming he had COVID-19 to get time off work, officials say

According to the warrant, William Carter, 38, received a total of $12,548.86 during his COVID leave. Bank records show he was at a resort during the time off.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu holds up a swab after testing a passenger at a free COVID testing site in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

DALLAS — A Dallas Fire-Rescue employee was arrested Friday, after officials said he claimed he and his family tested positive for COVID-19 in order to get time off work.

According to court documents, William Carter, 38, who works at Fire Station 7, has been charged with felony theft.

An arrest warrant says Carter requested COVID-19 leave on March 24 due to his spouse testing positive.  

During the pandemic, firefighters in the City of 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. The Dallas Fire Fighters Association confirms the city submits the time off to the government for reimbursement. This is extended to firefighter family members, as well.

Documents said one week later, Carter reported to his deputy chief that his daughter also tested positive. Documents show this gave Carter an additional paid week off from work. 

Another week passed, and the warrant states, “Carter reported to [his deputy chief] he was not feeling well and had tested positive for COVID-19 per his test results.”

The affidavit says Carter was asked to provide a copy of his test results, but he admitted he was not tested for COVID-19. He was later asked if he could provide doctors' notes for his family testing positive, but he could not provide the documentation, the document says.

Over the course of his leave, the document says Carter received a total of $12,548.86 in three payrolls. According to the arrest warrant, the funds coded as “COVID leave” were paid from the City of Dallas General Funds, which is a collection of tax dollars, sales taxes and fines.

Detectives subpoenaed Carter’s bank records and believe he went to a resort waterpark in Round Rock, Texas during his time off.

According to the affidavit, Carter was asked by the fire department why he claimed to have COVID-19 when he didn’t. His response was, “Greed, I guess.”

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

The case was investigated by the Dallas Police Department, who directed WFAA’s inquiry to Dallas Fire-Rescue.

Dallas Fire-Rescue confirms William Carter is under administrative investigation and is on paid administrative leave. WFAA has asked for an update on his employment status.