The fifth Fort Lauderdale firefighter to be arrested for an alleged forgery scheme, retired firefighter Michael Reimer, appeared in court before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley on Friday. Firefighter Freddie Batista briefly commented after he was released from jail Thursday.
The retired Fort Lauderdale firefighter being sought for his alleged role in a forgery scheme along with four other firefighters was arrested early Friday, records showed.
Michael Reimer, 46, faces charges of grand theft, uttering a forged document, falsifying an official document and criminal attempt to solicit or conspire, jail records showed. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.
A warrant had been issued for Reimer earlier this week after Fort Lauderdale Police announced the arrest of four other firefighters on similar charges.
Reimer was released after posting $30,000 bond, according to jail records. Also released Friday was a second firefighter arrested this week, 35-year-old Steve Loleski.
He and firefighters Freddie Batista, 36, Gregory Jones, 28, and Joseph Perri, 27, were arrested following an investigation that began when a routine audit by the Florida Department of Health uncovered a fraudulent document, police said.
Police said the ongoing investigation was being conducted by the FBI, the Broward County Public Corruption Task Force and the Broward County Office of Inspector General.
Batista, a 14-year veteran of the department who is charged with five counts each of forgery and official misconduct, was released Thursday after an appearance in bond court. He told reporters he felt like he was targeted.
“Proud to be a Fort Lauderdale firefighter,” Batista said.
Six-year department veteran Jones and 12-year veteran Loleski are facing forgery, grand theft, and official misconduct charges, while Perri, also a six-year veteran, is charged with forgery and official misconduct.