DA: Wading River woman indicted for impersonating NYPD officer

A Wading River woman and ex-volunteer firefighter was arrested for allegedly posing as an NYPD officer while responding to a call, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Mary Ortega, 46, is accused of responding to shifts and a fire call in the district wearing an NYPD uniform despite having no affiliation with the law enforcement agency. Prosecutors also said she presented fraudulent documents during an investigation into the allegations.

In a statement, District Attorney Ray Tierney said Ms. Ortega “violated the trust” of the Wading River community with her misconduct. “My office supports the brave men and women in law enforcement, and part of that support is holding accountable those who would attempt to wrongfully benefit from their honor,” Mr. Tierney said.

According to the DA’s office, Ms. Ortega was suspended by the Wading River Fire Department in May 2022 after reporting for shifts at the firehouse and responding to a call in a NYPD uniform. She was later found to be in possession of “numerous pieces” of fake NYPD insignia, including an identification card, police shield and other attire.

In response to the suspension, Ms. Ortega reportedly provided the chief of the department with a forged ID and two forged letters purportedly written by state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park) and Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez referring to Ms. Ortega as a member of the NYPD department as well as a “fictitious assignment” with an undercover gang and drug unit within the department.

Wading River Fire Department Chief Denise Gluck declined to comment Thursday and referred a reporter to fire district attorney Christopher Ring, who could not immediately be reached.

Prosecutors said Ms. Ortega admitted that she has never been involved with or held a volunteer position with the NYPD and told investigators that she purchased the phony shield and attire online.

Ms. Ortega was charged with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, three counts of first-degree falsifying business records, three counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing — all felonies — and a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal impersonation at her arraignment before State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei on Wednesday.

She pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance, officials said.

Reached by phone Thursday, Ms. Ortega’s attorney, Haley Baldwin, said her client is “fully cooperating” with law enforcement and she plans to work with the DA’s office to “reach an equitable resolution.”

Ms. Ortega is due back in court on March 9.