Polk County EMT arrested for grand theft and forgery

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An Emergency Medical Technician for Polk County Fire Rescue is facing charges for forging a certificate to make herself eligible for a promotion yielding a higher salary.

Deputies arrested 28-year-old Kyla Anne Rivas Zehtab on Tuesday for grand theft and forgery.

According to the affidavit, Zehtab wanted to be promoted to a firefighter position that would have paid an additional $11,123 annually. Officials say she met all qualifications except for the required certification for a physical abilities test. Zehtab told her supervisors she took the course twice but failed to get the certificate of completion.

Zehtab sent her supervisor a copy of a successful completion certificate from the Broward Fire Academy last month. The supervisor apparently noticed irregularities on the document like some text appearing darker, slanted and not parallel with other text.

Polk County Fire Rescue then contacted the Broward Fire Academy to verify the document, but found out there was no record of Zehtab attending the training.

Director Mark Wilson with the Broward Fire Academy told Polk County Fire Rescue, “At this time we must conclude that one of our original documents has been altered and presented to you.”

Zehtab has now been suspended with pay while Polk County Fire Rescue completes an internal investigation. She is being held in the Polk County Jail on no bond.

“Instead of doing the right thing, Ms. Zehtab decided to forge a certificate to make herself eligible for a promotion in order to receive compensation for which she was not entitled. Forging a certificate to be promoted to a firefighter is not only an integrity issue, but it is also a public safety concern,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

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