1. News

Sheriff says someone at CareerSource forged his signature

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said someone at CareerSource Pinellas forged his signature on official documents. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD I Times]
Published Feb. 8, 2018

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on Thursday accused the county's job placement agency of faking his signature on official documents relating to new hires in his office.

He said what appear to be forgeries by someone at CareerSource Pinellas amount to "unequivocal fraud" by an agency already facing multiple investigations.

"If they're going to do it with the sheriff, where do they stop?" Gualtieri said in an interview Thursday. "They have no ethics, morals, sense of right and wrong. We'll look at it, whether it's criminal. If they're willing to do it with me, then they have no boundaries."

SHERIFF CUTS TIES: Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

The signatures appear to show Gualtieri signing off on two new hires under a pair of CareerSource programs that would reimburse the Sheriff's Office for part of their salaries while they were being trained on the job. But Gualtieri said he has never seen the forms and that his signature appears to have been copied from another document.

"They just ripped it electronically," he said.

The signature of another employee, human resources staffer Evelyn Jones, also was faked, according to Gualtieri.

The sheriff said he was not immediately sure if the faked signatures are illegal, but expressed his concern in a letter Thursday to CareerSource lawyer Charles Harris. He forwarded a copy of the letter to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Office of Inspector General.

"I am frankly shocked and appalled that someone from CareerSource would forge signatures on official documents, much less my signature as the Pinellas County Sheriff," Gualtieri wrote.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay's local career centers

Both CareerSource Pinellas and its sister agency, CareerSource Tampa Bay, are under federal, state and local investigation into whether they inflated the number of people they helped find jobs. Also in question is whether the agencies received state incentive money based on exaggerated figures. The U.S. Department of Labor and state DEO are among those investigating.

Harris, the lawyer, is also reviewing the agencies' job placement figures on behalf of an ad-hoc committee formed by the CareerSource boards in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. The committee is scheduled to meet Friday morning.

Harris could not be reached for comment late Thursday. The programs are nonprofits that have received millions in taxpayer dollars to put people to work. They are led by president and CEO Edward Peachey, who could not be reached for comment.

The discovery Thursday brought the controversy to a new level, Gualtieri said. Harris had sent him the forms, referred to as training schedules, to verify earlier this week.

"I haven't been this shocked by something in a long time," Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times.

He said he was out of the state on the date one of the documents was signed. The date that the other form was signed in his name was a holiday. Jones, the other Sheriff's Office employee whose name appears on several of the forms, was at her father's funeral on the day one was signed, Gualtieri said.

Harris sent the documents to him with a list of ten employees who CareerSource records indicated had been deemed eligible for "On the Job Training" or "Paid Work Experience" programs. He asked whether the Sheriff's Office had agreed to employ the new workers, among them two detention deputies, two child protection investigators and an administrative assistant.

Peachey, the CareerSource CEO, told reporters last week that "no criminal acts" have happened at the jobs centers, in response to questions about their placement figures.

CEO SUSPENDED: CareerSource Pinellas chair says he has suspended CEO Ed Peachey

He was placed on administrative leave without pay last week amid the investigations in Hillsborough. He was suspended with pay in Pinellas, but under a unilateral order from the CareerSource board chairman — a move that other board members say may not have been legal. That chairman, Aundre Green, has since been removed from the CareerSource Pinellas board by county commissioners.

Gualtieri ended his department's contract with CareerSource last month, saying the center had taken credit for placing 624 employees at the Sheriff's Office, even thought he could not find any record of the agency recommending a candidate. He said the jobs program seemed to be involved in a "scam."

The sheriff's inquiry, in addition to the state investigation, were preceded by questions from the Times about CareerSource's job placement figures.

Several people who CareerSource reported it helped place into jobs have told the Times they never received assistance from the agency. Multiple employers have said that CareerSource requested copies of their full hiring lists — including people who did not get the centers' help.

Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard said late Thursday that she was shocked by Gualtieri's letter.

"It's pretty amazing that somebody would have the audacity to forge the sheriff's signature," said Gerard, a board member of CareerSource Pinellas and a member of the ad-hoc committee. "I don't think we will be 'clearing this thing up' at our ad-hoc committee meeting tomorrow."

Contact Zachary T. Sampson at or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson. Contact Mark Puente at or (727) 892-2996. Follow @MarkPuente.


Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay's local career centers

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Ousted Orlando jobs official now top leader at bay area CareerSource

CareerSource leader Ed Peachey, once considered Mr. Fix It, now under scrutiny

Pinellas commissioners want CareerSource leader Ed Peachey to resign

CareerSource Pinellas chair says he has suspended CEO Ed Peachey

CareerSource chief Edward Peachey suspended from Hillsborough post

Nelson, Rubio want federal probe into CareerSource

Pinellas commissioners remove CareerSource board chairman


  1. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is hoping to secure a $21.8 million federal grant to help pay for a bus rapid transit line connecting downtown St. Petersburg and the beaches. St. Petersburg City  Council approved an interlocal agreement Thursday supporting the project. ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times
    Pinellas transit officials hope the project will get a federal grant in 2020. However, St. Pete Beach and South Pasadena still oppose it.
  2. Marissa Mowry, 28, sits in a Hillsborough County courtroom court before her sentencing hearing Thursday. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy when he was 11-years-old. She was his former nanny, and became pregnant with his child. Photo courtesy of WTVT-Fox 13
    Marissa Mowry was 22 when she first assaulted an 11-year-old boy. Now he’s a teenager raising a son, and she was classified as a sexual predator.
  3. The tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that’s projected to strengthen as it approaches Florida could put a crimp ― or much worse ― in Tampa Bay’s weekend plans. National Hurricane Center
    The National Weather Service warns that the Gulf of Mexico disturbance could strengthen and bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the bay area.
  4. Pat Frank, at a 2016 candidate debate with then-challenger Kevin Beckner. She won. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
    From school board to state lawmaker to clerk of courts, she just keeps on going, Sue Carlton writes.
  5. Researchers from the University of Central Florida and International innovation company, Imec have developed a camera that uses specific wavelength of light to easily find pythons in habitat where they are typically well camouflaged. 
    University of Central Florida researchers worked with Imec to develop the cameras.
  6. Pasco County Sheriff's deputies lead three teenagers from a Wesley Chapel Publix store after responding to reports that the boys had been showing off handguns there in a Snapchat video. PASCO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    The three Pinellas boys were apprehended while they were still walking the aisles of the Wesley Chapel store.
  7. The 59-year-old pastor was arrested Oct. 2 after a young woman told investigators he began abusing her in 2014 when she was 14 and he was senior minister at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP
    Rev. Bryan Fulwider was released Wednesday night after posting a $700,000 bond.
  8. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The shuttered store has been reinvented and debuted to the community.
  9. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  10. In this image taken from video provided by the Florida Immigrant Coalition, border patrol agents escort a woman to a patrol car on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Aventura Hospital in Aventura, Fla. The woman had been detained by border patrol agents when she fell ill. The agent took her to the hospital emergency room for treatment. The presence of immigration authorities is becoming increasingly common at health care facilities around the country, and hospitals are struggling with where to draw the line to protect patients’ rights amid rising immigration enforcement in the Trump administration. (Florida Immigrant Coalition via AP) AP
    Hospitals are struggling with where to draw the line to protect patients’ rights amid rising immigration enforcement in the Trump administration.