Jeffrey Travis Long, 31, of Inman, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday
A South Carolina man is facing charges after authorities say he used a fake doctor’s note claiming he had the coronavirus, causing his workplace to shut down for five days while it was sanitized and creating panic after visiting his kids in school while ‘sick.’
Jeffrey Travis Long, 31, of Inman, was arrested on Thursday and charged with breach of peace and forgery, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said during a news conference.
The sheriff said Long worked at Sitel Corporation, a call center in Spartanburg County.
The company said in a statement that Long is no longer employed there.
According to an incident report, Long showed his employer a forged doctor’s excuse from a VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, purportedly showing he had tested positive for COVID-19.
That prompted Sitel to shut down its facility for several days for sanitizing.
According to authorities, Long also visited a school his children attend, causing officials there to worry that other children and families had been exposed.
‘I don’t know the dollar number it cost to disinfect their whole entire building, but it was a large number,’ Wright said.
Inman allegedly used a fake doctor’s note to claim he had coronavirus, forcing the call center where he worked to close for five days. Sitel Corporation (above) spent thousands of dollars thoroughly sanitizing the premises during the closure
The image above shows the fake doctor’s note allegedly used by Long claiming that he had tested positive for COVID-19
‘It wasn’t a hundred bucks. It was more than that.’
Hospital officials told investigators they had not seen Long within the previous two weeks, and his note did not have an official stamp from the facility, Wright said.
According to Inman Police Chief Keith Tucker, the hospital Long claimed to have seen him was not even conducting COVID-19 tests at the time.
Authorities said Long was arrested and booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
Long then caused a panic when he visited Inman Elementary School, where his children are enrolled, after claiming that he had been infected with coronavirus
‘It seems to me like the fella just wanted a two-week, paid vacation,’ Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said
It wasn’t known if he had an attorney, and arrest warrants did not list a phone number.
‘It seems to me like the fella just wanted a two-week, paid vacation,’ Wright said.
‘You can’t do this to people.’
Sitel Corporation released a statement to WSPA-TV on Thursday which read: ‘On March 13, we reported to authorities that an employee at our Spartanburg, South Carolina site self-reported testing positive for COVID-19.
‘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.
‘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.
‘We are currently working in close partnership with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, and since this is an ongoing investigation, we will direct any requests for statements or information about this investigation to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
‘At this time, our focus is on the safety and wellbeing of our employees who returned to work at our Spartanburg site on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020.’
This is the second time in recent days that authorities in South Carolina announced the arrest of a man who allegedly lied about being ill with coronavirus.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina said on Friday that 43-year-old Robert William Cullum has been charged after he reportedly claimed to have been exposed to COVID-19 through his son.
According to a sheriff’s office news release, Cullum, a resident of Union, was charged with breach of peace.
According to authorities, Cullum went to work at Gestamp — a manufacturing plant in Union County — and told other employees that his son had tested positive for COVID-19.
Management overheard Cullum’s claims and he was escorted off the property and told to quarantine for 14 days, according to WSPA-TV.
Robert William Cullum, 43, of Union, South Carolina, was arrested on Friday for allegedly lying about having contracted coronavirus
Cullum’s employer told the sheriff’s office that his workers were frightened to come to work because they feared they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
According to the sheriff’s office, Cullum later confessed that he lied to his employer.
He was taken to the Union County Jail.
As of Friday, South Carolina had reported a total of 125 COVID-19 cases across the state, with two new deaths, bringing the statewide total to three.
According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, both of the patients were elderly and had underlying health conditions.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of victims recover.
The ongoing outbreak has had economic impacts in the state as well.
On Thursday, Bridgestone Americas announced it was shutting down its manufacturing facilities in North America, which includes two tire plants in Aiken County.
In a news release, Bridgestone said the shutdown would run from March 21 through April 12.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Commerce said Friday that small businesses in the state ‘suffering substantial economic injury’ resulting from the virus outbreak would be eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the US Small Business Administration.