A Fort Lauderdale firefighter was arrested after police said he threatened another member of the fire department to disclose information about a criminal case.
Steve Loleski, 35, was arrested by Fort Lauderdale Police Wednesday and faces one count of extortion/threats and one count of criminal attempt to solicit or conspire, according to online records. He remains in the main jail on $51,000 bond.
The criminal investigation focuses on Loleski and five other firefighters who allegedly counterfeited their medical credentials and gave false official statements, according to the warrant.
According to the arrest warrant, Loleski taped a conversation between Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak and William Humphrey, president of firefighters union Local 765 IAFF, that took place in Justinak’s office about six months ago.
On July 9, Loleski told Humphrey he wanted to know whether three fellow firefighters being investigated had “cut a deal.” Loleski threatened to make the taped conversation public and oust the union head if he didn’t offer the coveted information, the warrant said.
During Thursday’s hearing, Loleski’s attorney, Brian Silber, told Hurley his client’s actions did not amount to extortion.
Loleski allegedly threatened to jeopardized an ongoing investigation if the victim, a member of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department and their bargaining union President, did not disclose information about an open criminal investigation by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the FBI/ . Prosecutors say Loleski and five others are implicated in that investigation for allegedly counterfeiting their medical credentials and providing false statements related to the investigation to law enforcement officials.
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