A former Virginia ABC senior sales associate has pleaded guilty to computer intrusion and embezzlement for passing on internal ABC inventory information that ended up being sold online.
Edgar Smith Garcia, 28, of Manassas, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for five years on condition of good behavior. Garcia must also pay a $600 fine and is banned from all Virginia ABC properties.
Three other charges of embezzlement, conspiracy to embezzle funds and conspiracy to trespass were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Garcia, according to court documents, was a senior sales associate from Feb. 14, 2020, to March 25, 2022. He was found to be passing inside agency information to Robert William Adams, 45, of Newport News. Adams, who was also charged with computer intrusion and embezzlement, allegedly sold the information to buyers he contacted through online bourbon hunting groups.
Adams is scheduled to appear in Hanover County Circuit Court on December 12.
Earlier this year, Virginia ABC conducted a thorough internal review of its distribution of limited-availability products following complaints of unfair selling activity, as well as the authority’s own observations about potential beverage law violations. alcoholic.
The CBA’s Bureau of Law Enforcement then launched a criminal investigation in partnership with other law enforcement entities.
During the investigation, Virginia ABC worked with the Virginia State Police Criminal Investigation Division, which assisted in serving search warrants and analyzing seized electronic evidence.
Evidence uncovered during the investigation led to the charges against Garcia and Adams.
“We have identified one instance where an employee worked with an outside individual in violation of ABC policy and Virginia law in the use of inventory information,” said Virginia ABC CEO Travis Hill. . “We are pleased with today’s outcome in the court in Hannover and confident that the new distribution methods put in place in April with the lessons learned from this incident ensure a fair environment for customers.”
As a result of reviewing how these products are sold, Virginia ABC has adjusted its distribution methods to not only provide all customers with the greatest opportunity to purchase these limited-availability liquors, but also to close the lanes that could provide opportunities for exploitation.
The new random distribution process for products with limited availability has been in place since April 20.