A former Levittown volunteer firefighter is facing felony charges after prosecutors say he faked Army deployment orders to gain pension credits for firefighting calls he never went on.
Authorities on Tuesday arrested Raymond Nicholson III, 34, of Levittown, on two counts each of criminal possession of a forged instrument and offering a false instrument for filing.
The Nassau County district attorney’s office said Nicholson, who works as a Border Patrol agent at Kennedy Airport, faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted.
A judge released Nicholson on his own recognizance after he pleaded not guilty at a Hempstead court arraignment, said his defense attorney, Brian Griffin.
“We intend to address this matter fully and vigorously in court,” the Garden City lawyer added, saying his client is now on modified duty at his Border Patrol job.
Prosecutors are alleging that in 2016 and 2017, Nicholson — who was honorably discharged from the Army in 2006 — handed in falsified active duty orders to the Levittown Fire Department. One set of fake Army orders said he was to report to Andrews Air Force Base for 364 days, and the other said he had to report to the World Trade Center for 180 days, according to prosecutors.
Active duty orders meant Nicholson didn’t have to meet a quota for fire call responses but still was credited with time toward a pension. The district attorney’s office said a fire department audit showed Nicholson hadn’t been on active duty at those times, and a department attorney filed a complaint with prosecutors.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that “falsifying government documents to receive unearned benefits is a serious crime that victimizes taxpayers.”
New York fire districts and municipalities that rely on volunteer firefighters can offer a pension-type benefit program, or Length of Service Award Program, under which participants can earn credit toward a retirement benefit at a set age.