O.C. deputies accused of falsely saying they were called to serve the military, collecting paid time off

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File photo of an Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy’s badge. (Credit: KTLA)

Seven Orange County deputies who also serve as Army reservists falsely reported they’d been called to serve the military and collected paid leave, the Sheriff’s Department said Friday.

Federal authorities are now investigating the allegations, which surfaced in January when supervisors noticed a discrepancy in military orders submitted by a deputy assigned to jails, O.C. sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

An internal investigation determined the orders were fake, and the deputy was put on administrative leave, authorities said.

The department then reviewed orders submitted by all Army reservists in its ranks, discovering another six employees suspected of submitting false military orders and collecting paid time off.

One of the deputies has been released on probation, while the other six are on administrative leave pending the federal criminal investigation, the department said.  

“Especially today, as we commemorate the actions of courageous men and women of the armed services on Patriot’s Day, it is a dishonor that these members of our organization took advantage of military service for their own personal gain,” O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement.

This is the third time this week criminal investigations into O.C. sheriff’s deputies have been made public.

On Wednesday, Deputy Angelina Cortez, 41, was charged with taking a theft suspect’s credit card and giving it to her son in 2018. Cortez is on administrative leave.

On Thursday, sheriff’s officials said another deputy, Steve Hortz, was captured on surveillance video in July as he burglarized the home of a man who had recently died. Department spokesperson Carrie Braun said Hortz was on paid leave, but the department was “looking into the possibility” of placing him on unpaid leave.

The Sheriff’s Department did not release the names of the deputies accused of falsifying military orders.

No further details were available.

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