Polk County EMT accused of forgery

Kyla Anne Rivas-Zehtab arrested


A Polk County Fire Rescue EMT was arrested Tuesday on charges of grand theft and forgery of a college degree.

Kyla Anne Rivas-Zehtab, 28, has been employed with Polk County Fire Rescue since Jan. 4.

Rivas-Zehtab is accused of forging a physical abilities test certificate from the Broward Fire Academy to be eligible for a firefighter promotion at PCFR, which would have resulted in an additional $11,123 annual salary.

Rivas-Zehtab makes $9.73 per hour and is a non-exempt 56-hour employee, officials said.

“Rivas-Zehtab did not meet the high standards set to become a firefighter. As a result of her actions, such conduct will not be tolerated; therefore, we notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and she was charged criminally,” said Deputy County Manager for Public Safety Joe Halman, Jr. 

According to a sheriff’s affidavit, Rivas-Zehtab was interested in being promoted to a firefighter position and met all of the qualifications other than the required certification for a physical abilities test. Rivas-Zehtab told her supervisor that she had taken the course two times, but failed to obtain her certificate of completion.

“We expect nothing less than professionalism and honesty from our employees,” Halman added. 

Rivas-Zehtab has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation by Polk County Fire Rescue.


About the Author: