A former Middletown fire captain who submitted a fake doctor’s note to extend his medical leave has been sentenced to three years of community control and must complete 100 hours of community service.
Greg Justice, 52, of Springboro, pleaded guilty last month to a fifth-degree felony charge of forgery and was facing a maximum of 12 months in prison. When sentencing Justice, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh said she considered that he had no prior criminal record, his service in the military and character reference letters she received on his behalf.
According to court records, 13 letters from Justice’s wife, co-workers and fellow firefighters, talking about his good character and years of service in firefighting were sent to the judge.
“The fact that Greg is standing here today is punishment for him,” said his defense attorney Richard Goldberg. “He has been publicly and privately humiliated.”
Justice, but for “one incident of misconduct, has been a law abiding citizen,” Goldberg said when asking the judge not to impose jail time.
But Assistant Prosecutor Gloria Sigman read a portion of a letter sent to the judge by Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli stating he wanted Justice to receive that maximum sentence. Lolli wrote in the letter that Justice is remorseful now, but he had plenty of chances to take responsibility and did not.
Justice offered an apology to the court and to the Middletown Firefighters Association, of which he was formerly president.
“I take my responsibility for my actions,” Justice said.
Justice, who was placed on paid administrative leave June 30, forged his doctor’s signature on medical records that allowed him to stay at home rather than returning to duty from medical leave. Discrepancies on paperwork submitted by Justice raised suspicions with Lolli, according to prosecutors.
The forged document shows the word orthopaedic is misspelled in the letterhead, which reads: “Orthopedic Institute of Dayton.” The forged medical leave document was submitted June 14 to the city.
Taken from Justice’s residence during a June 30 search were a laptop computer, two DVDs containing medical documents, a folder containing documents, a scanner with paper and an original document template.
Justice submitted a letter stating he was retiring from the department on July 15, days after being indicted by a Butler County grand jury.
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