A former Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) employee charged with embezzling more than $238,000 has pled guilty following an internal investigation.
A routine review by ABC financial staff uncovered the fraud in May 2013. The finding launched an immediate and extensive internal criminal investigation conducted by ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.
Steven Hammond, Jr., 29, of Richmond pled guilty yesterday to the Hon. John A. Gibney for one count of violating “Theft from a Program Receiving Federal Funds,” a federal embezzlement charge. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and will be sentenced on Jan. 14, 2015.
Hammond was immediately placed on pre-disciplinary leave in May 2013 when the agency detected the fraud, and was subsequently terminated.
ABC consulted with the Office of the Attorney General and requested the assistance of the Virginia State Police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) during this investigation. Because some of the funds embezzled involved federal grants, the Attorney General’s office requested the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The agency has taken a comprehensive review of its financial controls and additional measures have been put in place to help prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.
###The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 350 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
ABC Internal Investigation Leads to Guilty Plea