Cleveland firefighter pleads guilty in shift scandal - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland firefighter pleads guilty in shift scandal

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Calvin Robinson Calvin Robinson

The last Cleveland Firefighter charged in connection with the illegal shift changing scandal has pleaded guilty.

Calvin Robinson, 52, is the 13th firefighter to enter a plea of guilty to complicity to receiving unlawful compensation. The other 12 entered their pleas on February 10.

19 Action News has learned Robinson, like the other indicted firefighters, will not serve any jail time.

Robinson and his fellow firefighters paid other firefighters to work shifts for them. This enabled them to draw their regular pay and benefits while missing regular training and daily duties. This was a constant practice - not something they did to cover an occasional emergency.

Every one of the defendants missed at least one year of work between 2006 and 2010, the five-year period covered by the investigation.

According to prosecutors, Robinson was the ringleader. During the time under investigation, he missed 8,456 hours of work. That is more than three and a half years away from the job. During 2009, 2010 and the portion of 2011 that investigators also examined, Robinson showed up to work for a total of 27.4 days. Yet each year he still pocketed roughly $53,890 in salary and received benefits worth another $27,000 - all while earning substantial income in other enterprises.

If the fraud upon the taxpayers had not been exposed, it is believed Robinson and his co-defendants likely could have continued this pattern of full pay for little or no work until the day they started to collect their pensions.

The contract between the firefighters union and the city allowed for shift-trading, but it was supposed to be limited in scope and documented. Also, all trades were supposed to be paid back within a year.

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