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Upstate Medical University official resigns after allegedly faking stories of state dept. service

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Screenshot of Sergio Garcia giving a speech at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

A top official at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse has resigned amid allegations he fabricated stories about his service with the U.S. State Department. 

Sergio Garcia, Upstate’s senior vice president and chief of staff, was placed on leave yesterday after the Albany Times-Union reported several inaccuracies in his service record, including Garcia’s description of a deadly bombing in Afghanistan, which he made during a lecture last year.

"The entire caravan, we were in a car bomb explosion," Garcia said in a recording of the lecture. "I was in the third car, the bomb went off on the first car. A lot of my colleagues, civilian and military, were killed."

The Times-Union reported there was no vehicle convoy during that bombing, it took place two years after Garcia claimed, and he was not in Afghanistan at that time, according to his resume. They also found errors with his description of a woman who was killed during that bombing. Garcia also claimed he was at the White House during the 9/11 attacks, even though he did not start working for the U.S. government until 2004. He also said former-Secretary of State Colin Powell personally interviewed him for a job, although the Times-Union said Powell never met Garcia and Powell did not conduct job interviews.

In a statement, Upstate Medical University said "after an expeditious review of the troubling accusations made against Upstate Medical University's chief of staff, and at the request of Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, Sergio Garcia has resigned, effective immediately. The allegations are contradictory to Upstate's shared values of being open and honest, and the president and her leadership team will work together to confirm these values are instilled at every level of the organization."

Garcia was hired by Upstate just last year, at a salary of more than $340,000 a year.