- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2020

A South Carolina man falsely told his employer he was infected with the coronavirus because he wanted a two-week paid vacation, authorities said Thursday night.

Jeffrey Travis Long, 31, of Inman, South Carolina went so far to get out of work that last week he forged a doctor’s note claiming he had the coronavirus, Spartanburg County South Carolina Sheriff Chuck Wright said.

“Seems to me like the fellow just wanted a two-week paid vacation,” Sheriff Wright said at a press conference Thursday.

Mr. Long’s employer, Sitel Corp., shuttered its office for five days for cleaning. Employees that had come into contact with him were ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days. Sitel also contacted the South Carolina Department of Health.

“I don’t know the dollar number it cost to disinfect their whole entire building, but it was a large number,” Sheriff Wright said. “It wasn’t a hundred bucks. It was more than that.”

Local authorities became suspicious because the hospital where Mr. Long said he was treated wasn’t testing for the coronavirus at the time, Inman Police Chief Keith Tucker said the press conference.

Officials at the Veterans Association Medical Center in Asheville told police Mr. Long had not been at the facility and his note was fake because it did not have the hospital’s official stamp, authorities said.

Mr. Long is charged with breach of peace and forgery, Sheriff Wright said adding more charges could come. If convicted on the current charges, Mr. Long would face up to 10 years in prison.

“You can’t do this to people. To have someone do this is absolutely crazy,” Sheriff Wright said.

Sitel issued a statement Thursday confirming that Mr. Long is no longer an employee.

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