‘Paramedic Of The Year’ Arrested In Connection To Stolen COVID-19 Vaccines
A man who was named a Florida county’s Paramedic of the Year 2020 has been arrested for his role in the theft of coronavirus vaccines.
31-year-old Joshua Colon, who was arrested on Monday, January 25, is now facing 16 charges including forgery, falsifying medical records, official misconduct, and creating a fictional personal identification.
Colon, from Polk County, admitted that he forged paperwork to cover up a supervisor’s theft of three doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
County Sheriff Gray Judd told reporters at a press conference that authorities had noticed there were ‘discrepancies’ and ‘total confusion’ on three different vaccine forms completed by Colon.
He had been given three full vials containing 10 doses each to administer to first responders.
Colon was honoured with the Paramedic of the Year award earlier this month for his actions following a serious accident involving multiple vehicles.
Judd said the paramedic has since ‘confessed’ to using false names on the forms for ‘fraudulent and wrong’ reasons. He is now cooperating with investigators.
According to reports, Colon’s misconduct was at the request of his supervisor, Polk County Fire Rescue Captain Anthony Damiano. He told investigators that Damiano had joked about wanting a vaccine for her mother, but later threatened Colon when he would not give him the vaccine.
As per a police statement, Damiano said he would tell those higher up in the chain of command that Colon was selling vaccines outside of work.
Colon alleged Damiano had ordered him to take a break, after which three pre-filled syringes disappeared from the refrigerator where they were being stored.
‘Colon did not question his supervisor in reference to the missing vaccines, however, he immediately became suspicious. Colon did not report this incident to anyone within Polk County Fire Rescue,’ the police statement said.
However, when later asked for documents to account for the vaccines, Colon forged the forms and said he had administered the doses to three people; two firefighters who had not received the vaccine, and one person who he made up.
‘The investigation is ongoing, including what role the supervisor has in the theft of the vaccines and the creation of fraudulent and forged medical records,’ the police statement said.
‘The bottom line is Joshua tried to cover for the captain, Joshua set up the circumstance for the vaccines to have been stolen. Had Joshua simply gone to his boss right then he’d have been the hero, but instead, he started falsifying paperwork making up people who didn’t exist to cover it up,’ Judd told reporters.
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