VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Brian Scott Hall, a former Virginia Beach economic development employee, was found guilty on multiple embezzlement charges for allegedly using a city shipping account for personal use.
Hall, age 57, was found guilty and sentenced Wednesday by Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci for three counts of felony embezzlement.
He was sentenced to three years in prison, all suspended, conditioned upon three (3) years of good behavior. The state's sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of probation with no jail time.
Hall pled not guilty to the charges but stipulated that the Commonwealth’s evidence was sufficient to find him guilty. Hall’s attorney then asked the court to find him guilty of three misdemeanor embezzlement offenses instead of felonies.
The court declined to reduce the charges.
Officials say if the case went to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that in August 2018, the Virginia Beach City Auditor’s Office contacted the Virginia Beach Police Department regarding possible embezzlement activity within the Virginia Beach Economic Development Office.
Officials say the evidence would have proved that during an audit of the shipping expenditures for the office, it was revealed that the shipping budget was 180% over budget.
According to the City Auditor’s Office investigation, it was determined that between September 2016 and June 2018, Hall used the FedEx expense account for the Economic Development Office to mail 23 private packages to his girlfriend in the Philippines.
The total amount of shipping costs totaled $4,102.99.
Hall’s position in the Economic Development Office was Business Development Coordinator.
During his time in his role, he was given a Virginia Beach Procurement Card (“Pro-Card”), which is a credit/debit card linked to a city account that can be used only for city business purchases.
Typically, officials say an administrative assistant should secure shipping labels and coordinated shipments. Since the packages sent were for non-business purposes, Hall personally handled the shipping labels and packaging.
Hall admitted during an interviewed by investigators that he did shipp packages to his girlfriend in the Philippines and that they were not related to City business.
Officials say he acknowledged that his actions were wrong and illegal. The city collected money from Hall - with the help of its payroll office - to pay off the debt he accumulated on the FedEx account by collecting based on money Hall was owed through leave.
“Hall’s actions were a direct violation of the public’s trust which simply cannot be tolerated,” Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach said.