South Carolina man used 'fake' coronavirus doctor's note for paid time off leading call center to close down
The Coronavirus mayhem is causing much chaos and in one bizarre case, a South Carolina man was arrested after he used a "fake" doctor's note, causing his workplace to shut down for five days. Not just that, he created panic after visiting his kids in school too.
The man has been identified as a 31-year-old named Jeffrey Travis Long who worked at Sitel Corporation, a call center in Spartanburg County, and has been charged with breach of peace and forgery.
Reports say that Long showed his employer a forged note from a VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, to make them believe he had tested positive for COVID-19. Not only did he get a "paid vacation" that way, but his action also prompted the company Sitel to shut down for several days for sanitizing. "I don’t know the dollar number it cost to disinfect their whole entire building, but it was a large number," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said during a news conference. "It wasn’t a hundred bucks. It was more than that."
The sheriff further said, "It seems to me like the fella just wanted a two-week, paid vacation. You can't do this to people."
When probed further, hospital officials said they hadn't seen Long in the last two weeks and his note did not have an official stamp. Moreover, 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."
It also said, "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."
Apparently, this is not the first such case in South Carolina. The Union County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina reported another such case involving a 43-year-old man named Robert William Cullum. He was charged after he reportedly claimed to be exposed to COVID-19 through his son.
According to an official press release, 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. The management suggested him to quarantine for 14 days, according to WSPA-TV.
When other employees were "scared" to come to work, an investigation began on Cullum and he was taken into custody for questioning, where he confessed he lied to his employer. Reportedly, he told officials he made up the story due to “losing points” from work and was arrested at the Union County Jail.