‘Greedy’ ABC worker steals $239,000 that was supposed to save lives

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-29 18:03:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. - A Richmond man pleads guilty to stealing money that was supposed to go back into the community to help fight underage drinking.
Court documents obtained by CBS 6 News spell out 29-year-old Steven Hammond Jr.'s crime.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District court, Hammond admits to stealing from an ABC program that receives federal funds. Hammond worked for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as an Education Coordinator for its Youth Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Program or YADAPP.

Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring says it was a simple case of greed that led Hammond to use his position to steal money from the program that aims to curb underage drinking.

"He would arrange for others who were not providing any educational services to get the checks. They would cash them and then a portion of the money would go back to Hammond,” Herring explained.

When ABC officials uncovered the discrepancies during an internal audit, they contacted Virginia State Police and the Virginia Attorney General’s office.

Herring says his office in turn got the FBI involved. Documents show Hammond’s embezzlement spanned a four year period. He also admitted to creating seventy seven fraudulent checks created by ABC totaling more than 238 thousand dollars.

Investigators say Hammond’s scheme started back in 2009. In 2012 he appeared on WTVR to talk about the very program he would later admit to stealing from.

ABC officials say they have since added additional financial controls to prevent that type of theft from happening again. Attorney General Mark Herring says Hammond will be required to pay restitution.

Hammond faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced on January 14, 2015.