GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent County man who posed as an EMT on an ambulance, even starting at least one patient’s IV, is now in jail.
Anthony Fortuna, 42, was sentenced Tuesday to nine months behind bars. Police arrested him in February for impersonating emergency medical personnel.
Fortuna reportedly had an EMT uniform, rode along in an ambulance and gave some patients medication.
It’s not his first criminal offense.
“I got the presentence report and saw his record. I realized that he has done this sort of thing in the past,” Kent County Circuit Judge Donald Johnston told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday.
Johnston handed down Fortuna’s sentence and explained the details of the incident involving an American Response Training (AMR) ambulance.
“He (Fortuna) had apparently a friend — either a friend or a girlfriend — somebody that he knew working there,” Johnston said. “He had convinced this other person that, indeed, he was an emergency medical technician himself.”
Johnston said that Fortuna’s friend set up an ambulance ride-along. He also had a uniform on and told the staff he was a former EMT in a different state.
“He had set an IV and dispensed some medication none of which, of course, he was authorized to do,” Johnston explained.
It was all a lie.
“My first reaction is the guy must have some screws loose,” the judge told 24 Hour News 8.
While Fortuna and the AMR crew were out, a skeptic at AMR headquarters was looking into his experience. That research revealed that Fortuna was a phony and Grand Rapids police officers arrested him.
Almost eight years ago, Ottawa County deputies arrested him for impersonating a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) inspector. Fortuna told a manufacturing plant he was there to do his job.
Federal records show that two months before that incident, Fortuna made up stories of a false bomb threat at the Gerald R. Ford federal building. The sentence report claims he did it to avoid going back to state prison.
Johnston said he’s unsure why Johnston pretended to be an EMT, but said it seems it was for the thrill of it.
“He never really had a good reason for it,” he said. “I kind of asked him about it and he said, ‘Well, I was just being stupid.'”
AMR told 24 Hour News 8 that Fortuna was not given the uniform by its staff.
AMR officials wouldn’t answer if anyone at AMR has faced discipline. They did issue this statement Wednesday:
“AMR takes this matter very seriously. We cooperated with police throughout their investigation and continue to do so.”