Former Woodmere fire commissioner faces up to 7 years for falsifying court documents


Judah Karkowsky, a former Woodmere Fire District commissioner, who had a misdemeanor sex abuse case against him dismissed could serve from 2-1/3 to seven years in prison after being convicted of submitting falsified court documents as part of two $15 million lawsuits against the fire district and Nassau County. 

Karkowsky, 43, was convicted on April 18 of sending a court transcript that he knew was falsified to a representative of his synagogue trying to return to the shul after the 2021 sex abuse charge was dismissed the following year.

He was also found guilty of using language from the falsified transcript in several notices of claim he filed with the fire district, the Woodmere Fire Department and the county in an attempt to with at least $30 million in compensation. Karkowsky, a Woodmere resident, was a volunteer paramedic with the fire department at the time of his 2021 arrest.

“In more than three decades of prosecuting cases, I have never seen a defendant go to the lengths this defendant did to stand by his blatant fraud”, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a news release. “Through his actions Judah Karkowsky  launched a brazen attack on the integrity of the criminal system.”

He was convicted of criminal possession of a forged instrument, three counts of offering a false instrument for falsifying, two counts of making an apparently sworn false statement and two counts of criminal attempt.

“Even after his indictment, instead of withdrawing his duplicitous notices of claim, this defendant pushed forward and filed in federal court,” Donnelly said in the release.  

The fire department suspended Karkowsky after the 2021 arrest. The sex abuse case was dismissed the next year based on a violation of state criminal procedure law that required the prosecution to be ready for trial within 90 days of a defendant’s arraignment.

Karkowsky ordered a copy of the court transcript from the May 6, 2022 court appearance when County District Court Judge Douglas Lerose ordered the dismissal and explained why.

Ten days later, Karkowsky send a photo of a page of the minutes to the co-chairman of the board of trustees at his synagogue that included a sentence that was not in the original transcript.

The sentence read, “Notwithstanding this court has believed for some time that the People’s case lacked substance and should not have reached this point.”

His intention was to use the forged transcript to convince shul leadership that his case was dismissed on merit, he was innocent of the charges and the synagogue should welcome him back. The fire department reinstated him after the dismissal, but the synagogue did not allow him to return.

Karkowsky served a notice claim on Nassau County on Aug. 1, 2022. Three days later he did the same to the fire district and fire department. A notice of claim initiates a lawsuit.

 The claim against the county alleged that police department members “willfully ignored exculpatory evidence,” and made a false statement about Judge Lerose’s comments. His claim against the fire district and fire department quoted the false sentence. He swore before a public notary to the contents of the claim.  

Karkowsky was arrested on falsifying document charges on Nov. 9, 2022.