Tarrant County’s 10 Most Wanted Criminals, March 6
A Fort Worth police officer has been fired for falsifying time sheets — seeking almost $4,500 for hours she did not work— and failing to submit a corrected time sheet once she’d been caught.
Officer Victoria Van Orden was indefinitely suspended effective March 13, according to a disciplinary letter signed by Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and filed with the Civil Service Commission on March 18.
The officer, who had been with the department since September 2008, is appealing. Her attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
According to the letter, Van Orden repeatedly submitted time sheets between Sept. 21 and Jan. 31 that did not reflect discretionary time off that she’d used.
Her supervisor, Sgt. J. Kovar, discovered Van Orden had reported working 120 hours during that four-month time period despite being off on leave, totaling about $4,494 in compensation.
“Sergeant Kovar previously addressed this kind of behavior with Officer Van Orden.,” the letter states.
According to the letter, Kovar had ordered Van Orden to submit a corrected time sheet for the September pay period.
Van Orden prepared the corrected time sheet, but Kovar discovered during an audit in January that she had never submitted it to the police payroll office and that she had allegedly committed a similar violation.
In a Feb. 8 written statement, Van Orden took responsibility for the incorrect time but stated “it was due to forgetfulness and carelessness,” the letter states.
In a subsequent interview, however, she told a different sergeant and lieutenant that she continued to omit leave time on her time sheet “because she hadn’t gotten caught yet and because she wanted to maintain her leave bank,” the letter alleges.
When later confronted about her conflicting statements, Van Orden wrote that her second statement was untrue, and that she had changed it because the sergeant and lieutenant had told her that her first statement was not believable, according to the letter.
“At no time was Officer Van Orden told to change her statement, but only to tell the truth,” the letter states.