County emergency heads accused of faking training records - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 NOW Investigates

County emergency heads accused of faking training records

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Jody Barr) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Jody Barr)
VEVAY, IN (FOX19) -

A FOX19 NOW investigation uncovered allegations that Switzerland County’s emergency services faked medical and fire certifications for years. The allegations come from current and former staffers and has led to an investigation by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

We received an anonymous tip that multiple CPR certification cards were printed and issued to people who never took a course. The cards were issued in December 2013 and expire in December 2015. A source provided FOX19 with copies of the cards—the same copies state investigators received. 

The faked certifications go beyond CPR. Multiple people with certifications tell FOX19 their fire and EMT certifications were falsified.

“PEOPLE ARE IN JEOPARDY HERE IN OUR COUNTY”
Janelle Lustig got a text a few months ago with a picture of a CPR certification with her name on it—a certification that came from Switzerland County. Lustig lives in Switzerland County, but works 60 miles from Switzerland County as a paramedic in Louisville, Ky.

Lustig hasn’t worked on the Switzerland County EMS squad in a decade. Lustig left the department around 2006 because of conduct she told FOX19 she couldn’t “be a part of.”

“The same stuff that was happening then is happening today,” Lustig told FOX19 in a June 11 interview. 

Lustig was the first paramedic hired by Switzerland County and now works with an ambulance service in Louisville. All of Lustig’s certifications and training are handled by her employer, which Lustig said makes no sense why she’d need a CPR certification out of Switzerland County. 

“I didn’t take it. I haven’t taken the first class in Switzerland County in 10 years,” Lustig said. The CPR card shows Lustig completed the course on Dec. 1, 2013 and is certified through December 2015. 

CPR certifications last two years. 

The cards show Switzerland County Emergency Management Director, Chris See, instructed the classes. Lustig said she’s never taken a course under See or under his father, Randy See, who is the director of the Switzerland County EMS squad. 

On June 11, we followed Lustig into the EMS office to pay Randy See a visit. Lustig wanted to know how she was certified in CPR through Switzerland County and never never took the December 2013 course. We found Randy See in his office. 

“I’d like to have a copy of my CPR card,” Lustig asked See. “I don’t have a copy of your CPR card,” See replied. “How do I get certified in CPR and I never took a class,” Lustig asked. “I can’t answer that question,” See responded. 

See did not provide Lustig and our crew with any information about the alleged December 2013 CPR course or copies of the class rosters. 

Lustig pressed See about how she ended up with a card and never signed up for the class. “I want to know how this happens to me,” Lustig asked See. “I’m not going to discuss this with you and I’ve asked you to leave,” See told Lustig. 

See would not return our calls or meet us outside his office to discuss the allegations. See did call Vevay police on our crew and placed FOX19 on a trespass notice for the EMS offices. The offices are privately owned, but the squad is partially funded with tax dollars.

Lustig launched her own investigation into the CPR certifications and contacted about a dozen people whose names appeared on the same CPR card she was issued. “I didn’t do this,” was the response Lustig told FOX19 she received from every person she spoke with. 

“I want an explanation on how this happens. I’m not out to ruin someone’s reputation, I just want an explanation on his this happens,” Lustig told FOX19.

“I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR IT.”
The former assistant chief of the Jeff Craig Fire Department told FOX19 he was also issued false CPR cards and witnessed his chief, Chris See, faking certifications during his time on the department. Josh Gosciniak served as the assistant chief until he gave up the position in January, he explained in a June 5 interview with FOX19’s investigative unit. 

“Several times, almost every certification was falsified,” Gosciniak said. “Most of the classes were falsely done. Like I said, it was regular practice when people didn’t show up, you just signed the next time you showed up,” Gosciniak said. 

We found a November 2013 training record submitted to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and signed by Switzerland County EMS Director Randy See and EMS instructor, Stephanie Stewart that shows a roster containing 15 names of people the form claims completed 180 hours of EMT training on Nov. 9, 2013. 

The training was composed of 40 classes the form shows that were held between June 29, 2013 and Nov. 9, 2013. The courses required participants to complete 160 class hours, eight clinical hours and another 12 hours performing work in the back of an ambulance. The document shows 15 people on the list, but only 10 received passing scores.

Josh Gosciniak was one of the ones with a passing score.

“That impossible,” Gosciniak told FOX19 when we handed him the form. Gosciniak said he’d never seen the form until we showed it to him during the June 5 interview. 

“I didn’t sign up for it. I was signed up for it by somebody else for the class. I was approached at the firehouse that I had class that day, it was for an EMT class that I had no intentions of taking,” Gosciniak said. “I didn’t want it. They pushed me through it because I was the assistant chief, they wanted me as an EMT, but I got pushed through it.”

Gosciniak told FOX19 he only attended a couple of classes for a total of about 18 hours of the 160 classroom hours shown of the form. Gosciniak said he was working as a boilermaker out of town when the courses were held and knew he couldn’t complete the course. 
Gosciniak provided FOX19 with pay stubs showing he was working 12 hour shifts, seven day workweeks 143 miles away in Petersburg, Indiana during the majority of the scheduled classes for the EMT course.

The former assistant chief said he was one test away from being a fully credentialed EMT by the state of Indiana. All he needed to do was attend a testing session at Ivy Technical College. Gosciniak said he wasn’t about to take that step. 

“I thought that was scary, so I never went and took it,” Gosciniak said.


MORE ALLEGATIONS OF FAKED CPR CERTIFICATIONS
During our investigation, we attempted to contact the people named on the CPR certification records supplied to FOX19 NOW by a source. These cards were also turned over to Indiana state investigators more than a year ago.

We were able to reach some by phone and Facebook, but many never responded. 

Two who did said their CPR certifications were legitimate. The rest said they’d never attended a course or were provided answers to the test by the instructor. 

“We came in and they had all of our CPR cards laid out on the table—for everybody on the fire department so it would classify us as a higher fire department,” former Jeff Craig firefighter Staci Rieman told FOX19. 

“There’s people that’s never been—never done CPR in their life, don’t even know where to start—that was given a card that night,” Rieman said. 

Reiman said she never attended a CPR course at JCFD and never took a course from Chris See, despite the cards showing See instructed the December 2013 CPR and AED training.

In a June 15 interview with JCFD chief, Chris See, he denied instructing the classes and said he was having the allegations and the cards reviewed by an attorney, “We’ve got an attorney that’s going to look into it and we’ll give you some statements after that.”

“Chris See made all those cards,” Rieman said. “He was there the night of the meeting. He’s the one that handed them to us. He’s the one that called our names. No, he was there. He made them. He’s lying about it,” Rieman explained. 

We contacted Tabetha Jedding, who our records showed was certified in CPR and AED through the December 2013 course. Jedding denied completing the CPR course and had never seen the cards until we showed them to her during a June 16 interview with her. 

“Not there,” Jedding said when FOX19 asked her whether the certifications were true. 

Switzerland County EMT Paul Parson was one of the people who responded to FOX19’s inquiry into the CPR and AED certifications. Parson said he took both courses at SCEMS’ training room. Parson said Chris See taught “some” of both courses, despite See’s statement to FOX19 that he didn’t teach any course.

In the same call, Parson later said “We just put Chris See for instructor,” and admitted the courses were “taught by a couple of different people.” The other instructor, Parson said, was SCEMS staffer Stephanie Stewart. 

A second response came from Jacob Jones, a member of the JCFD. Jones also works as a dispatcher with Hamilton County 911. When questioned about his CPR certification, Jones responded through a Facebook message: 

“The only comment I will make regarding my certifications is that myself along with ever other firefighter and EMT worked extremely hard to achieve all of our certifications. We went above and beyond the minimum training courses required by the state of Indiana and have the certifications and hours to prove that.”

We also found Switzerland County Coroner Lewis Fritter’s name in the stack of CPR/AED certifications. A source provided Mr. Fritter’s cell phone number to us, but Fritter has not returned our messages to question him about his certifications and whether his are legitimate.

As of this report, Mr. Fritter has not responded to our request for comment.

THE EFFORT TO FIND THE SEES
We tried contacting Chris and Randy See at their offices, through their department Facebook pages and in person at their place of business. Neither responded to our attempts to reach them. 

On June 15, we met both men for unscheduled interviews in Vevay. 

We caught Randy See outside his EMS office just before 7 a.m. We stood just off the EMS property and tried to talk to See as he walked out of the building. 

“I don’t have any comments right now,” Randy See said. “After we talk to our attorneys, we’ll be glad to give you a statement,” See said before getting into his SUV and driving away. 

We met Chris See as he walked to his JCFD fire truck that same morning. We showed Chris See the CPR and AED certifications our source claims were faked. “We’ve got an attorney looking it over and eventually will be taken care of then,” See explained. 

Chris See confirmed some of the names on the cards were people who never attended a CPR class. “That’s correct,” See responded when asked that question by FOX19. 

See would not answer any other questions and continued to tell us his attorney was reviewing the allegations against him and his father. 

See denied falsifying any records, “No, sir we’re not. So, you guys can say what you want. Thanks for your time,” See said as he got into his fire truck and drove away. 

As of this report, neither Randy See nor Chris See have responded with a statement from their attorneys.

THE INVESTIGATION
In a June 15 phone conversation with Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, Amber Kent, the agency confirmed there is an open and active investigation into the allegations regarding the Switzerland County certifications. Kent would not provide specific information about the investigation or an update on the progress of it. 

“The investigation is ongoing now,” Kent told FOX19. “We don’t comment on investigations outside of someone is being investigated,” Kent explained. 

IDHS “did identify some concerns and are investigating,” Kent said. 

The current IDHS investigation is not the first time the agency has investigated the allegations, our sources confirmed. The same allegations were filed in a complaint with the agency more than a year ago. Kent confirmed those allegations were closed and an audit completed. 

Kent confirmed part of the new IDHS investigation deals with allegations of a relationship between a IDHS investigator and a member of the public safety services in Switzerland County. 

Kent did not give any more specifics on that element of the agency’s investigation or the specific allegations. 

IDHS did not give a timeline on when the current investigation may end. 

This is a continuing FOX19 investigation. Future updates and follow up investigations are underway. Stay tuned for more reports out of Switzerland County. 

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