July 16, 2014 in City

Sheriff: Deputy fired for overbilling Best Buy for security work

By The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy was fired this week after he billed a local business for work he didn’t do, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Tuesday.

Deputy Charles “Chuck” Sciortino left his post at Best Buy on Black Friday to work patrol but billed the store for a full 12-hour shift, Knezovich said.

Knezovich said he talked to Sciortino that night while Sciortino was still providing security at the electronics retailer, but the deputy did not mention he had a scheduling problem with his job.

“He could have said, ‘I have a conflict. I signed up for this.’ ”

Sciortino was fired Monday after an internal investigation revealed multiple incidents similar to the Black Friday abandonment of his post, Knezovich said. Sciortino was in full uniform while providing security at the electronics store, the sheriff added.

“This was conduct unbecoming of a deputy,” Knezovich said.

Mike Ricketts, of the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said the firing is under review by the union’s attorney. He said the association had no further comment Tuesday.

Sciortino has been called in for disciplinary action before, Knezovich said. The Sheriff’s Office placed him on administrative leave March 10 to investigate the allegations. At the time, Knezvoich said Sciortino possibly stole up to $700 in pay for work he didn’t perform.

The Sheriff’s Office hired Sciortino as a lateral deputy in 2008, according to a news release. He had previously served stints in North Idaho and California before coming to Spokane. While in Idaho, he earned commendations for helping talk down a suicidal woman in 2006. A federal lawsuit filed against him claiming civil rights violations in California was settled out of court, records show.

Sciortino is the second sheriff’s deputy fired for misconduct this year. Todd Saunders lost his job in May after allegations surfaced about an improper, on-duty relationship with a woman who wasn’t his wife.

Deputy Scott Kenoyer was fired in August after an investigation unearthed evidence he was sleeping with a woman while on duty, however an out-of-state arbitrator reinstated Kenoyer’s job, also in May.

Nina Culver contributed to this report.

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