COLORADO SPRINGS — A firefighter with the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) is charged with felony theft after mishandling funds from customers of his side contracting business and using his status as a firefighter to manipulate customers’ trust.
On July 28, CSFD announced in a press release that firefighter Jared Whiteman had been placed on unpaid administrative leave after the department had reviewed the charging documents against him. Whiteman has been a firefighter with CSFD since March of 2017.
According to an arrest affidavit for Whiteman, the theft charges stem from a side contracting business, Fortified Solutions, of which Whiteman was listed as the CEO. Fortified Solutions specializes in new construction “barndominium-style” steel structures.
Employee statements in the affidavit attest that Whiteman would frequently use his employment as a firefighter and his Christianity as selling points to earn his customers’ trust. Several of the people that Whiteman allegedly victimized were members of his church, as well as fellow firefighters, the affidavit shows.
Fortified Solutions was registered with the Secretary of State’s Office in November of 2018, and according to employee statements, it was a reputable business up until approximately late 2019. One former employee stated he didn’t know exactly where or why the “shift” happened, but that Whiteman was suddenly exclusively focused on accruing more money.
Six different customers, as well as 20 business entities were identified by the affidavit as having been victimized to the total amount of $197,690.
The affidavit delineates the actions taken by Whiteman and Fortified Solutions that constitutes theft:
- Did not hold customers’ funds in trust for payment of subcontractors, laborers, or suppliers
- -Many subcontractors, laborers, and suppliers were left unpaid for work completed
- -Liens were placed against the customers’ property for unpaid invoices, for which the customer paid Fortified Solutions
- -Customers in some cases not only paid Fortified Solutions, but also paid the subcontractor, laborer, or supplier for the same invoice
- Over-invoiced customers for work
- -Double-invoiced the customer for the same item
- -Requested funding far exceeding the actual cost
- -Requested funding for work not completed or ordered
- Took down-payments for projects and did not complete any work and did not refund the customer.
After more than a year of investigations into Fortified Solutions, Whiteman was charged with theft in the amount of $100,000 – $1,000,000 and turned himself in to the El Paso County jail on June 28. His next scheduled appearance in court is set for September 1.
You can read the full arrest affidavit below.