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Former Virginia Beach Economic Development Director pleads guilty for embezzling nearly $80K in city funds

Former Virginia Beach Economic Development Director indicted for misuse of city funds
Posted at 12:31 PM, Aug 04, 2021

Virginia Beach, Va. – The former director of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, pled guilty today in court for embezzling nearly $80K in city funds.

64-year-old Warren D. Harris, pled guilty today in Circuit Court to four counts of embezzlement by a public officer.

According to officials, if this case had gone to trial, the state's evidence would have proven that Harris used public funds for personal use during the course of his tenure as director of the Department of Economic Development for the City of Virginia Beach between 2007 and 2018.

The total amount of fraudulent expenditures was approximately $79,479.50.

In 2018, the city's auditor conducted the initial investigation into the department and found out that Harris had been fraudulently using city funds to fund personal trips to locations all over the world, including Dubai, Panama, Spain, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois.

The audit also revealed that Harris used city funds to place advertisements in sports publications such as the NCAA Final Four official program. The placement of the advertisements brought with them tickets to sporting events, which were city property that Harris improperly used for personal purposes.

After these findings, the auditor turned it over to police the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, which began a joint investigation with the FBI.

Harris will be sentenced by Judge Steven Frucci on November 30.