Commonwealth v. Brian Scott Hall; Three Felony Convictions for Personal Use of Public Funds by Former Economic Development Office Employee
Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Brian Scott Hall, age 57, was found guilty and sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci for three (3) counts of felony Embezzlement. Judge Frucci sentenced Hall to three (3) years in prison, all suspended, conditioned upon three (3) years of good behavior. The Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines recommended a sentence of probation with no active period of incarceration.
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. The Commonwealth objected to this reduction, and the Court declined to reduce the charges.
Had this matter gone 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. An audit of the shipping expenditures for the Office revealed that the shipping budget was 180% over budget. The City Auditor's Office conducted an investigation and determined that between September 2016 and June 2018, Brian Scott Hall utilized 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. The shipping of these packages was personal in nature and not at all related to Hall's job duties or Economic Development Office business.
Hall's position in the Economic Development Office was Business Development Coordinator. In this role, he possessed a Virginia Beach Procurement Card ("Pro-Card"), which is a credit/debit card linked to a Virginia Beach City account that can be used for City business purchases. Typically, an administrative assistant secured shipping labels and coordinated shipments; however, as these packages were for non-business purposes, Hall personally handled the shipping labels and packaging.
When interviewed by the City Auditor's investigators, and later during an interview with detectives from the Virginia Beach Police Department Economic Crimes Unit, Hall admitted that he shipped the packages to his girlfriend in the Philippines and that they were not related to City business. He acknowledged that his actions were wrong and illegal. The total restitution was repaid through the balance of Hall's leave when his employment was terminated.
"Hall's actions were a direct violation of the public's trust which simply cannot be tolerated," Stolle said.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney S. Mario Lorello prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.