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SC man jailed after officials say he faked coronavirus to skip work

Crime blotter

As communities throughout South Carolina hunker down in hopes of stalling coronavirus, a Spartanburg County man was jailed on Thursday after authorities said he faked the illness.

Jeffery Long

Jeffery Travis Long. Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office/Provided.

Jeffery Travis Long, 31, sent a fake doctor's note to his employer, Sitel Group, claiming he'd tested positive for the virus, Sheriff Chuck Wright said.

When authorities began the process of alerting anyone who might have come into contact with the novel coronavirus, which causes the flu-like disease COVID-19, they learned that the state Department of Health and Environmental Control hadn't recorded the case, according to Inman police, who led the investigation.

The doctor's note, which wasn't written on official letterhead, prompted the tech company to send employees home for five days and sanitize the facility, Wright said. 

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"We are currently working in close partnership with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office," the company said in a release provided to reporters. "At this time, our focus is on the safety and well-being of our employees who returned to work at our Spartanburg site on Wednesday."

Long faces one count of breach of peace and one count of forgery, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

"It's bad enough that everybody's lives have been put in upheaval just trying to stay safe and get ahead of the curve and get a grip on coronavirus without having somebody cause massive panic," Wright said. "You can't cause public hysteria because you want a two-week vacation."

Reach Sara Coello at 843-937-5705 and follow her on Twitter @smlcoello.

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