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Former Deputy arrested for forgery and fraud

A former Gilchrist County Deputy told the Sheriff’s Office staff that she had Covid and could not work for many weeks. She later said, she had been in the hospital and took sick leave time that was graciously offered by fellow employees when her own sick leave ran out. It turned out, she was not sick and had taken another job further south.
After an extensive investigation by FDLE, Trent Kellee Freeman, 38 of Bronson, was arrested on December 15th, 2021. Freeman turned herself in at the Levy County Sheriff’s Office in Bronson.
The investigation began when the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office noticed some irregularities in Freeman’s medical leave filings and requested for FDLE to investigate. FDLE Agents discovered that Freeman filed multiple sets of fraudulent Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms, forging the signature of area doctors to support her false claims of extensive hospitalization for severe Covid-19 and other medical issues, according to a press release from the GCSO.
The news release also stated that Freeman fraudulently solicited and received hundreds of donated sick leave hours from her colleagues, defrauding GCSO and those employees of approximately $3,727.
During the investigation it was discovered that she was not in the hospital comatose as she had claimed, Freeman was working at a full-time private-sector job outside of law enforcement. She had applied for this job before filling out the initial fraudulent FMLA forms.
Sheriff Schultz and FDLE held a press conference on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the GCSO. “We have an excellent relationship with FDLE.” Sheriff Bobby Schultz stated during the conference.
Schultz said, “It is necessary to hold individuals accountable for the crimes they have committed.”
The GCSO employees, like a lot of folks, were trying to do the right thing by helping Freeman and she took advantage of them. The Sheriff went on to say, “I am thankful to work with employees with such big hearts. They did it for the right reason. We will be asking for restitution from the State Attorney’s Office. Hopefully they will get it, and we will be able to monetarily give back the (sick) time they have lost.”
Sheriff Schultz said that in his 30 years of law enforcement this was the first time he had seen this happen.
He also stated that FDLE is checking into all the cases the Deputy/Detective had worked on while employed at the GCSO to see if there are any discrepancies in cases she had worked on in the past, so far they have found none.
Freeman was hired in July 2018 and she was terminated October 15, 2021. The discrepancies were found on October 5th, and she was let go 10 days later.
Her fraudulent activity had been going on for about two months when it was discovered.
Sheriff Schultz said, “We believe in accountability at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, which is why we brought this case to FDLE. No matter the circumstances or situation, we will strive to make sure our employees do the right thing at all times.” He went on to say, this case in no way represents the men and women who work at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
Freeman was charged with two counts of Forgery and one count of Scheme to Defraud/Organized Fraud. Her bond was set at $50,000. This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit.