Spartanburg County, SC – Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man who lied about having coronavirus and ended up shutting down the entire company where he worked.
The shutdown occurred after Jeffrey Travis Long brought a doctor’s note to his supervisor at Sitel Corp. on March 13 that said he had tested positive for the coronavirus, WSPA reported.
“Dear Mr. Long,” the letter, which purported to be from Charles George VA Medical Center, began. “I am writing at your request to provide a note for your work regarding missing days.”
“You were seen at Primary Care 1 here at the CGVAMC on 03/13/2020 with a positive test for the COVID-19 virus. You may return to work on 03/27/2020 following retesting on 03/27/2020. Please let us know if you require anything further,” the letter read, according to WSPA.
The letter was sign by a doctor identified as Long’s primary care physician.
Long told his employer, Sitel Corp, that he had tested positive and the company was forced to shut down for five days in order to clean and take preventative measures, WSPA reported.
He also submitted the forged note to his child’s school in Inman to excuse an absence.
The note delivered to the school set off a firestorm and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office investigated in partnership with the Inman police, WSPA reported.
Investigators learned that Long had not visited his primary care physician in the past two weeks, and that he had not tested positive for coronavirus.
The doctor said Long’s letter was fraudulent, WSPA reported.
Inman Police Chief Keith Tucker said that the hospital Long named in his forged note wasn’t even giving coronavirus tests at the time, WYFF reported.
“Seems to me like the fellow just wanted a two-week paid vacation,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told reporters on Thursday. “You can’t do this to people. To have someone do this is absolutely crazy.”
Sitel Corp. announced that Long had been fired in a statement sent out on Thursday, WSPA reported.
“On March 13, we reported to authorities that an employee at our Spartanburg, South Carolina site self-reported testing positive for COVID-19,” Sitel said in a statement. “Once reported, we immediately evacuated employees from the Spartanburg site and conducted rigorous sanitization of the entire facility.”
“Today, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office alerted Sitel that this employee made fraudulent claims about testing positive for COVID-19,” the statement continued. “Based on these fraudulent claims, the Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for this individual. The individual is no longer employed at Sitel.”
Long was arrested and charged with breach of peace and forgery, WSPA reported.
He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Long was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center pending his arraignment, WSPA reported.