Former OEMS employee charged with stealing over $4 million from state

Posted at 4:20 PM, Jun 25, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has charged a former Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) employee in connection to an investigation into $33 million budget shortfall.

Adam Harrell, the former Associate Director of OEMS, was charged with mail fraud, federal program theft, and evasion of tax assessment.

Click here to read the court documents

CBS 6 has been investigating OEMS since September 2023, when we broke the story that the Virginia Department of Health, which oversees the OEMS, was conducting an internal investigation into that office after discovering a large budget shortfall.

Subsequently, VDH said it had reported “possible financial irregularities” to the Virginia State Police and the Office of the State Inspector General.

VSP said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia was also involved in the investigation.

Harrell became the Associate Director at OEMS in September 2019, according to court records.

Adam Harrell, former  OEMS Associate Director
Adam Harrell, former OEMS Associate Director

In that position, the feds alleged Harrell devised a scheme to unjustly enrich himself by misappropriating money from OEMS.

They claim Harrell created a company called Strategic Tech Innovations LLC in November 2020.

Court records say he then created 15 fraudulent invoices for services and technology that his company would provide to OEMS, however, Harrell knew his company would not actually be providing those services to OEMS.

On top of that the Feds allege Harrell set exorbitant and non-market prices for those services.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Harrell used the money to buy real estate properties, luxury vehicles, dozens of firearms, and jewelry.

In total, they allege Harrell received over $4 million in funds belonging to OEMS, which were not his.

Prosecutors are looking to recoup that money if Harrell is found guilty.

Over the past several months, CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit has tried to talk to Harrell.

At one point, he agreed to have a conversation but never responded to set something up.

Hipolit reached out to him Tuesday for comment on the charges and he said he “would be willing to give a statement at a later point.”

An internal audit into the finances at the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services is ongoing, according to VDH Communications Director Maria Reppas.

“On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) learned that criminal charges have been filed in federal court against a former employee who worked in the Office of Emergency Medical Services. Last summer, VDH detected financial irregularities, and the State Health Commissioner immediately notified the Office of the State Inspector General, Virginia State Police, and the Auditor of Public Accounts," Reppas said in a statement provided to CBS 6 on Wednesday. "Since that time, VDH has been cooperating fully with the investigation. VDH will respect the legal process and declines to comment further on the pending legal proceedings."

The Virginia State Police investigation into “possible financial irregularities” at the OEMS “remains active and ongoing at this time. No charges have been filled,” Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller said.

OEMS investigation.png

Local News

VDH seeking state assistance after OEMS $33 million deficit revealed

Cameron Thompson
10:48 PM, Jan 29, 2024
Virginia Department of Health VDH

Local News

VDH opts to withhold 753 messages related to 'possible financial irregularities'

1:03 PM, Dec 06, 2023

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.