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Convicted Va. employee speaks out; gov. works to address waste, fraud & abuse

By Margaret Kavanagh,


SUFFOLK, Va. - A News 3 Investigation has been looking into waste, fraud and abuse in government agencies and tracked down a former state employee who said he was very remorseful for his decisions.

Vincent Long admits that he did wrong and is now paying for it.

The 54-year-old is serving an 18 month sentence for stealing government property then selling it.

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Long used to be a state government employee, but now he is an inmate

Over a 10 day span in February of 2021 he admits that he stole $18,000 worth of equipment from a Department of Agriculture building in Suffolk.

He said he stole the equipment due to a gambling problem that got out of control.

Leaders with the State Inspector General worked this case and others.

“Like anywhere else fraud, waste, and abuse does occur, and we're out there ready to investigate it whether it's large or small,” said Richard Scholl is the Virginia State Inspector General Hotline Manager.

Some of the agencies larger cases are highlighted in a recent report.

News 3 filed a Freedom of Information Act to the State Inspector General in an effort to get the names of those involved and more information about the cases from the agency.

In one case highlighted in the report inmates wrongly got unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

In another case, a Virginia Employment Commission employee plead guilty to making 19 false statements to get $8,000 in benefits she wasn’t entitled to.

Scholl said investigating these cases is extremely important to protect tax dollars.

“It's vitally important because it's the taxpayers money,” said Scholl, “With everybody that lives within the state and everybody that travels through the state they in some way are affected by fraud, waste, or abuse that is not being stopped.”

In an effort to stop it, the state operates a hotline that citizens or government employees can call to report anything suspicious.

They said about 70 percent of the allegations are not an actual violations but good feedback for the organization.

“Just because the allegations are unsubstantiated that doesn't mean that there isn't something there that we can create, correct, or we can have a better way of doing processes,” said Scholl.

In 2022 they said the investigations unit opened 30 executive branch state agency investigations.

They said 40 percent are false unemployment cases, 17% are fraud and 13 % are improper use of state resources.

“It's using equipment, or time, or resources or funds not for their intended purposes, circumventing any kind of policies or procedures, or the law. Those all those things that would fall into the aspect of fraud, waste and abuse,” said Scholl.

The report cited that it was another employee that tipped off supervisors to the stolen equipment in Long’s case. He said the hardest part about this is being away from family and said he will never ever do anything like this again.

The State Inspector General said they always want to bring more awareness to the Hotline and ways to report waste, fraud and abuse.

They want anyone with any kind of suspicion to contact them.

Here is information about the Hotline

Here is the full report

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