Former detective accused of faking severe COVID-19, taking donated sick leave from co-workers

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GILCHRIST COUNTY, Fla. (WJW) — A former detective with a sheriff’s office in Florida faces charges after being accused of faking COVID-19 and taking sick leave time from colleagues while working a side job.

Trent Kellee Freeman, 38, faces two counts of uttering a forged instrument and one count of scheme to defraud.

According to a release from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation began when the office noticed some irregularities in her medical leave filings and requested an investigation. Agents found she filed multiple sets of fraudulent Family Medical Leave Act paperwork, forging the signatures of area doctors. She claimed to have had extensive hospitalization for severe COVID-19 and other medical issues.

The investigation found she fraudulently solicited and received hundreds of donated sick leave hours from her colleagues, defrauding the sheriff’s office of $3,727. Investigators say she was not comatose in the hospital but had started working at a full-time private-sector non-law-enforcement job.

“No matter the circumstances or situation, we will strive to make sure our employees do the right thing at all times. This is an unfortunate situation, but this in no way represents the men and women as a whole who work at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office,” Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said in the release.

Freeman turned herself into authorities Wednesday and was booked into Levy County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

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