GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A man who went to prison for reporting a non-existent plot to blow up the Palisades nuclear power plant is back behind bars for impersonating a medic during a “ride along’’ with a Grand Rapids ambulance company.
Anthony Mario Fortuna, who once passed himself off as a state safety inspector, actually treated patients while accompanying an American Medical Response crew in mid-January.
Fortuna was sentenced Tuesday, May 15 to nine months in the Kent County Jail for the latest in what the judge described as a “fair amount of flim-flammery.’’
His past transgressions include sounding the alarm about plots to blow up the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building in Grand Rapids and the Palisades plant in Van Buren County.
Four months after he got out of prison for that one, Fortuna was posing as a medic and treating patients.
When he arrived at AMR's facility on South Division Avenue on Jan. 19, Fortuna told workers he used to work for the company. Fortuna even had a uniform. He rode with the crew, took blood pressure readings and administered an IV to one patient.
Two paramedics assigned to the ambulance became suspicious about Fortuna's training. Grand Rapids police were called to investigate.
A warrant was authorized charging Fortuna with impersonating emergency medical service personnel. He was also charged as a habitual offender for numerous prior convictions at both the state and federal levels.
Fortuna pleaded guilty last month to the impersonation charge, a two-year felony.
“AMR takes this matter very seriously,’’ AMR Operations Manager David Skujins said in a statement on Wednesday. “We cooperated with police throughout their investigation and continue to do so.’’
Fortuna, who lived in Allendale, garnered headlines seven years ago when he was indicted for reporting a plot to blow up the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building. Fortuna told investigators he was offered $5,000 to assist. He made the report while locked up in the Ottawa County Jail, court records show.
About four months after spinning that yarn, Fortuna told the FBI there was a plot afoot to blow up the Palisades Nuclear Plant.
Federal investigators were not amused. He was prosecuted for making false statements to federal agents.
Fortuna has prior convictions for defrauding an innkeeper, check fraud, impersonating a state safety inspector and fraudulently subscribing to an Internet site.
Then there was a federal conviction for making false statements about a murder-for-hire plot. That story was “motivated by anger related to the end of a romantic relationship,’’ court records show.
“Some of these convictions seem to have been motivated simply to get attention,’’ defense attorney Sean R. Tilton wrote in a federal sentencing memorandum.
A U.S. District Court judge in Jan. 2013 sentenced Fortuna to five years in federal prison. The sentence ran consecutively to terms imposed by judges in Isabella and Ottawa counties. Fortuna was also placed on supervised release for three years.
When Fortuna gets out of the Kent County Jail later this year, he’ll be turned over to federal authorities for violating conditions of his supervised release.
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