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Three Former Hernando Beach Fire Chiefs Arrested for Fraud

UPDATE: 11:41 P.M. – Officials now say Brooksville Fire Chief David Freda and Brooksvile Fire Captain David Murdock have been arrested.

The following is a statement from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office regarding the case against all three suspects:

As a result of a seven-month investigation stemming from allegations of misappropriation of funds at the Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department (HBVFD), detectives with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit, working closely with members of State Attorney Brad King’s office, have made three arrests.

It should be noted, earlier this year, the Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department was dissolved. Hernando County Fire/Rescue now provides services to Hernando Beach residents.

Today, detectives effected arrest warrants on the following three former Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Chiefs.

Current City of Brooksville Fire Chief and former HBVFD Chief David Freda W/M was arrested at 10:30 p.m. at the 7-11 at County Line Road and US 19 as a result of a traffic stop.

Current City of Brooksville Fire Captain and former HBVFD Chief David Murdock W/M was arrested from his secondary place of employment, Bayfront Health Dade City.

Current FEMA employee and former HBVFD Chief Travis Morris W/M was arrested from the Hernando County Emergency Operations Center.

Charges are as follows:

– David Freda
– Organized Fraud More than $50,000 (1st Degree Felony)
– Bond – $25,000

– David Murdock
– Organized Fraud More than $20,000 (2nd Degree Felony)
– Bond – $15,000.

– Travis Morris
– Organized Fraud More than $50,000 (1st Degree Felony)
– Bond – $25,000


BROOKSVILLE – A former Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief is charged with Fraud over $50,000 and more arrests are pending, according to sources.

39-year-old Travis Edward Morris of Weeki Wachee was booked into the Hernando County Jail today and is currently held on a $25,000 bond.

Two other former Chiefs, including current Chief David Freda of the Brooksville Fire Department have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. Brooksville Firefighter David Murdock is also expected to face charges.For years, rumors that former Hernando Beach Chief Freda was squandering funds, drinking on the job, having sex in the firehouse, and using apparatus for personal use, finally sparked an investigation by several agencies, including the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office would not comment on the investigation at this time.

We spoke briefly with Matt Foreman who confirmed that he represents Chief Freda but would not comment on the case.

We will continue to bring more on this story as it develops.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.


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  • leave his kids out of it he did wrong not his children

    Wednesday, 4 October 2017, 12:51 am
    • Where did it mention his kids?!

      Thursday, 5 October 2017, 9:14 pm
      • someone mentioned his three kids i guess they took it down didn’t seem appropriate i know him personally hes a but his kid is an angel by the way he only has one… not 15 running around somewhere get the facts straight people

        Thursday, 5 October 2017, 11:02 pm
        • what one are you talking about. whos kids?

          Friday, 6 October 2017, 9:52 am
        • Ur facts are wrong, next paternaty test in the works…. baby 3 weeks old, give it time. Thank god the pos turned his back on her, little baby doesn’t need a dead beat dad as a father, “Sperm donor”.
          JAIL FOR HIM!!

          Friday, 6 October 2017, 6:03 pm
  • Heroes my. Fireman are ego driven to say the least. FYI, When you see firemen at the store buying groceries in the fire truck they are using the County credit card to do this. Yes, it’s legal and it’s been going on for years . That’s unbelievable but true. Look into it Tom.

    Sunday, 1 October 2017, 7:32 pm
    • You are wrong when you see us at the store we are using our own money. We all pitch in for the dinner run and we cook and eat together. If you have no idea what you are talking about then don’t assume anything.

      Sunday, 1 October 2017, 7:48 pm
      • Thank you for coming out and clarifying this obnoxious remark. Thank you for your service. Most people have no idea what goes in to becoming and being a fire fighter. You men and women will always be revered and honored in the hearts of the people. We trust you.

        Monday, 2 October 2017, 9:33 am
    • You are a uneducated moron. So far from the truth.

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 3:39 pm
  • Why did the obvious take so long to take down ?

    Sunday, 1 October 2017, 2:09 pm
  • They’re finally getting their karma after over 3 years…. Although Murdock never really did seem shady at the station. He was a decent guy back then. I’m hoping that the whole story comes out and that EVERYTHING that happened comes to surface. Bringing girls to the station, writing himself and his girlfriend checks from the fire department fund, coming in to “train” the firefighters while drunk, lighting fires in the dayroom while the volunteers on shift were sleeping, using the chief trucks for every day vehicles and taking them wherever, purchasing a $500,000 fire engine (had to raise the fire tax on the beach to get the engine and held a community meeting to try to convince the residents to vote yes), then never using it once and telling the firefighters there was no money to properly train anyone. Let’s not forget Freda always saying that if someone didn’t do what he wanted, that he was going to go into the state fire database that holds firefighter records and would “make you unhireable” and that “he will write whatever he wants and who is going to stop him”…. Someone should also look into the (very true) allegations made by Brandon Smith in 2014. Don’t mind Melissa up there ^ by the way, that’s his sister…….

    Sunday, 1 October 2017, 11:22 am
    • Whoever this is, you’re 100% correct.

      Sunday, 1 October 2017, 7:09 pm
      • Anon, oh yes I know. I’m sure these are things you experienced. Every time school came up and proper training, there was “never enough money”… But yet there was a new fire engine that was NEVER used and the training was required even if it was uncertified people doing it? Lets also not forget how Freda went into extreme details about how the county taking over would be “such a bad thing” and how he was doing fine on his own….

        Don’t forget about the Beacon movie theater fire in 2014 as well that was ruled as arson……..

        Sunday, 1 October 2017, 8:02 pm
    • this freda guy you should see how he operates! he recently got a cease and desist order at his residence for some kind of un permitted work on his house wich he has recently sold but before then you should have seen the shinanigans!!!! never cut his grass, garbage lying around etc all the neibors are ecstactic he has sold the house andmoved away!!!!!

      Sunday, 1 October 2017, 10:55 pm
    • who is this beth chubs or colton 😉

      Thursday, 5 October 2017, 11:05 pm
  • to the guy John that responded to the comment from darlene. IF U DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOUR TALKING ABOUT, SHUT YOUR MOUTH. she has tested and qualified for each and everything she has accomplished with the fire department. they all should spend the amount of time she does testing and earning the credentials the candidates need to advance in their field. not at all like most of the regime in place for the last couple of years that just get handed positions with none or little qualifications. educate yourself or shut the hell up!!!!!

    Sunday, 1 October 2017, 10:02 am
    • I am educated. Thank you very much. AS Degree BA degree in fire administration. Also a FO4. So don’t tell me I’m not educated. I know how the city works. There is no promotional test in that department to move from ff to driver to captain. They are given there not earned. Educate the your self call any fire department and ask if they give promotional exams. The city needs to give the fire department to the county and get it over with. Freda was a so called volunteer chief who back stabed others to get where he wanted to be. He is a person who don’t care how he does it.

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 8:50 am
  • just the tip of the iceberg, in this county.

    Sunday, 1 October 2017, 8:53 am
  • x6

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:48 pm
  • Now if only the firefighters could return fire and start arresting the crooked Hernando cops as well.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:34 pm
    • they would have to stage and never accomplish anything because it’s too scary. nice try

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:53 pm
  • Impregnating under aged girls and using tax payers money for abortions. Dig deep Prosecutors.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:15 pm
  • We need to get this bad — dude out of our county, out of our state.

    What a disgrace Freda is. He’s had this coming for a long time. Yeah! He is going down!

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 12:18 pm
  • Since they are Volunteers, it’s OK to drink alcohol and have sex in the fire station. If they borrow equipment it is not permitted to utilize it for fornication but illegal massages are permitted. Hope this helps.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 12:00 pm
    • The captains and chefs are not volunteers they’re paid

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 10:47 pm
    • Doesn’t matter if you are a career or volunteer. Drinking at the station is never allowed.

      Sunday, 1 October 2017, 5:49 pm
  • Are they going to get Dukes for helping with the cover-up?
    Or are they going to let him go after he uses
    Nicholson’s, “I Was Lonely” defense?

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 11:13 am
    • nothing cures being lonely like spending time with a crack whore

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 2:20 pm
  • why is the only one who shows up on the Hernando County website for arrests the one with the lowest charges? Both David’s show no arrest record as of today?

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 11:04 am
      • Still doesn’t show any info on Freda or Murdock

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 2:43 pm
      • No arrest record for Freda in Pasco either..

        Saturday, 7 October 2017, 11:06 am
  • A lot of Hernando county employees use public facilities for personal use. For some reason they feel entitled, from food, storage, vehicles… I am sure he felt like he deserved it!

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 10:47 am
    • You don’t know what you’re talking about

      Sunday, 1 October 2017, 6:57 pm
  • Groping women is the in thing. Just look at our President

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 10:20 am
    • and Hillary’s husband

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 11:02 am
  • Next is Dukes

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:40 am
    • let’s hope because he knew about it

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 10:01 am
  • I’ve personally seen David Freda Driving the Hernando beach county fire department Fire Chief vehicle throughout the whole county going back-and-forth to his work running personal errands and use in the county gas card to fill it up so unfair how he treated us taxpayers for his benefit

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:30 am
  • I wonder who’s money he used to buy the fire truck that he bought the day High Point volunteer fire department had an auction I personally saw him bid win and purchase a firetruck the brush truck.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:27 am
    • That was a lease from the Florida Foresty Service…..

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 12:47 pm
  • This is the third time I’ve posted on This article Tom why are you deleting my comments ? Once again I say I’ve seen David Freda personally driving around this whole county with his Hernando Beach volunteer fire department chief truck. Using the Hernando Beach fire department gas card to fill it up and run all his personal errands going back-and-forth to work with the county truck. And oh yeah he bought a firetruck at the High Point volunteer fire department auction – I want to know who’s money he used for that??? Nothing bad immoral or illegal said in this post to have it deleted.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:18 am
    • Considering that I’ve read your same comment 3-4 times already I don’t think he’s deleting anything at all. And if gas is the Pinnacle of your worries for the corruption in Hernando then you should get caught up. In the 10 years I’ve lived in this I’ve gotten 10 tickets from cops with nothing better to do than up their quota.

      I’ve been pulled over for speeding and walked away with 4 tickets and none of them being speeding tickets. Beg the cop for a speeding ticket because I know it’s saved on the speed gun. Nope instead I get failure to use turn signal and 3 seatbelt tickets. I remind the officer there is only 2 people in the car. So he writes me a ticket for not having my ID on me.

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:45 pm
      • ” do you have any weapons, drugs, or anything illegal in your car” do you mind if i look for myself ?. honesty is your best bet right now i wont be able to help you if i have to find whatever you don’t have myself. if the dog alerts on your car mister your ass is mine and i can make your day or night a living hell. give me something, anything, you see i am completely out of free and forbidden samples to leave in your car after the dog scratches the shit out of it for no reason other than it’s operator patting his hand on the car and softly saying the words for the play time toys. did you have to remind him why he said he pulled you ? just remember that in a police state you are guilty no matter what and your job to prove otherwise. FYI something that happened to me one day, was giving a person a ride to the store and got pulled over for supposedly not wearing my seat belt now the funny part of that is my wife is always making fun of me for putting it on just to move the car from the house to the garage ( 50 feet max ) it is a very good habit and don’t mind the picking at she does over it. well anyway that was a crock of shit but the rider in the car had a warrant i was unaware of and gave a different name when ask for id that he did not have. they knew who he was and arrested him and then ask me where i lived at. well i tried to hold it back and answering you have the D.L. in your hand or can’t you read. why are you asking me? he said your walking now because you did not tell the other deputy that was a false name he gave so you just committed a felony and your truck and all those tools along with anything else i want to take is now being confiscated. what the hell are saying i ask. it was all used in commission of a felony .whoa good ole boy! i was never ask of his name and as far as i know that could of been his real name. he went back to the other deputy and then returned with ” sir a dog is in route and we will search your truck when he arrives. replying to him why wait for the dog go ahead and dig in any fool knows that your going to do with or without reason, consent, probable cause , or any of the legal procedures one must or should take but why do i feel threatened ? 62 yrs old now and i have a bit of trouble remembering the last time i had a sense of safety and relief when i was in the presence of a publicly paid servant of the law. why is it that for a good percentage of people on the street have went from being glad to see the law around to getting so upset that they just want to get home or anywhere so to get out of that automobile and out of site ??? to serve and persecute

        Sunday, 1 October 2017, 6:05 pm
    • Is delete it too

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:46 pm
  • Ya this David Freda I seen him driving that Hernando Beach chief truck ALL over this county to and from his work as we the tax payers pay for his free gas and use of a free truck for his personal use. He also bought a fire truck when the high point vfd had an auction I wonder whose money he bought that with?

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:58 am
  • All three of them are disgusting. Each one has cheated on their girlfriends with multiple different girls at the station on multiple occasions.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:52 am
    • I’m sure youd know

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:46 pm
      • We all know…
        Just look at all the children he has sprinkled around 😂

        Saturday, 7 October 2017, 10:21 am
      • hey Melissa I’m sorry your going through this id protect my own too praying for you and your family

        Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 10:24 pm
  • Should tar and feather em’, then parade them down the street publicly like the old days. Make the local gov’t officials think twice before behaving like this in the first place!

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:44 am
  • They need to look into to more than just the fire department let’s look in to the other also . I am so sick of paying for stuff we should not pay for . Now you know why our fire taxes are so high . What about school taxes,what about property taxes , If only people would stop and think how much money is being wasted by this county they would be mad as hell. I went to the dump Friday and the new equipment that was there is unreal , million is siting there. And they will sale the older ones for nothing .if you ever go to the auction in Brooksville they sal cars ,trucks with low miles for very little just because they want new one . Don’t you wish you buy one because you want a new one o wait we are buying one for someone else

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:39 am
    • What are you babbling on about? Brooksville auctions and Hernando beach volunteer dept have nothing to do with the county. I do get someone who can’t read, comprehend or spell complaining about “school tax”.

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 10:42 am
      • What hell are you talking about the tax payers pay for the equipment they drive believe it or not you pay fire tax so don’t tell me it has nothing to do with the county .i guess you don’t pay taxes. Who pays them the tax payers the money comes from some where.

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:31 pm
      • Read what you just type ,you need to go to the auction and see for your self

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:38 pm
        • Your complaining about different taxes your not paying genius. Unless you have houses on the beach, county and city. City of Brooksville auctions, beach volunteer dept, the dump, and your fire tax have nothing to do with each other. If only there was an option on here to draw you a picture.

          Sunday, 1 October 2017, 9:03 am
  • whats sad, is that innocent people got hurt in this process.. what they put former brooksville fire captain through along with all this is a sin. not
    only did they break the law, they broke her heart and tried to ruin her career. she is blessed with strength, fight and heart and has ended in a much better place. no thanks to the city officials that sided with Freda in the attempt to ruin her. thank god there is a higher power involved. KARMA IS A BITCH!!!

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:37 am
    • Yea but what did that fire captain do to those other two just so her and Freda could advance in there department. Both of them were behind that. So she is not all sweet as put on.

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 2:05 pm
      • Fry to follow this moron, do you even know what you are talking about fool? How about actually having the credentials to actually test for the position. She earned her spot, nothing was ever given to her idiot! Get the facts before you open your mouth. Not that you can even comprehend the concept.

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 8:48 pm
        • Yea I can hole and I have more then the crendentails to work in her spot. It was given to her just like it was to Freda, and Murdock and the others that have worked there. It’s funny Freda and her advanced after the two other dip shits left. Then the past fire chief leaves and Freda gets it. So again tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.

          Sunday, 1 October 2017, 12:13 am
        • Wow. You sure are angry

          Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 9:51 pm
  • curious to see how many commissioners knew about this and covered it up

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 7:56 am
  • Bout time ! I knew David Freda was screwiness the county over when I saw that Hernando Beach fire chief truck ALL over this county. He would use the county gas card fill up the county truck and drive it all over the county to and from work. What a jerk.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 7:17 am
  • It’s gonna get hot up in here!

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 6:37 am
  • Finally Freda gets his.It was so obvious to everyone we that he was crooked. I believe his appointment is one reason Norman-Vacha did not get renewed at the City. I sure do hope the Finance Director at the City has been watching the Fire Budget very closely.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 5:19 am
  • As a almost 20 year vet of the fire service and a former chief officer in the busiest combination department in the world. I have stories of david Freda from when I moved to florida and was for a short time a firefighter at the beach. This guy between Freda and Murdock should never be in charge of anything ever. When I spent my whole life as a firefighter and I give it up because of the stuff they did to the poor members of the hernando beach fire service they should be ashamed. Worst part is I contacted the news and county personnel years ago about this.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017, 5:05 am
  • ITS true many many years ago I went on a date with him that ended up back at the firehouse And let’s just say he doesn’t know what the words no and stop mean

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 11:56 pm
    • Apparently you don’t either or you wouldn’t end in that situation in the first place

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:48 pm
      • That is so unbearably heartless to presume.

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 4:02 pm
      • Why do u keep defending this pos? Are u his latest conquest?

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 6:45 pm
  • Ignorance is bliss. God has blessed our family in many ways. One of them is not having had contact with filth like this. We have met a load of GOOD people in Hernando County,though. Foreman needs to back away from this scum,with his county connections,though. It makes county government look bad. Oh. Wait. It already does.

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 11:43 pm
  • These bozos are no different than the bozos in the federal government (past and present) When are their arrests going going to be announced?

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 11:01 pm
  • They think they are above the law. Crime never pays.

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 10:56 pm
    • Actually they dumbasses didn’t realize if ur going to commit a crime don’t do it against the one signing your check cuz they actually do look in you the stuff I volunteer with the fire department explorer program for 4 years they been working to close that station down but it takes time

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 12:49 am
  • Lol. Wonder if it has to do with the sex with under age girls (including the current pregnant one), the paying of his child support out of the HBVFD budget, the drinking with under age kids at the station, the pencil whipping of state firefighting certifications or all the above! Glad to hear he is finally going down.

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 10:39 pm
    • He has another girl pregnant? Doesn’t he have like 3 kids already? Glad to hear he is finally going down as well!

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 12:27 am
    • Why is there not sex charges filed on this guy if this is the case?

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 9:24 am
    • Get facts lady.

      Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:49 pm
      • Sometimes we care about people who turn out to be not as great as we thought they could be… it hurts, but they did heinous things.

        Saturday, 30 September 2017, 4:00 pm
  • A friend of mine lives a few houses down from this guy, what an arrogant butthole! He finally got what was coming to him

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 10:20 pm
  • Such disgraces to this county.

    Friday, 29 September 2017, 9:52 pm

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