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RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- A former employee of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $200,000 from funds intended for educational programs to combat underage drinking.

Steven Hammond, Jr., 29, of Richmond, Virginia, pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with theft from a program receiving federal funds, the office of United States Attorney Dana J. Boente announced.

Hammond faces a maximum of ten years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 14, 2015.

"Hammond embezzled money that was intended to help save lives and improve public safety by combatting underage drinking," said U.S. Attorney Boente. "I commend our partners in state and federal law enforcement for their cooperative efforts to unravel this fraud and hold the defendant accountable."

Investigation revealed Hammond used his position as education coordinator at ABC to divert funds to himself by having the department write checks of less than $5,000 to various acquaintances he claimed would operate an educational system, according to officials.

The acquaintances would cash the checks on Hammond's behalf, usually in exchange for a small fee. The investigation revealed Hammond stole more than $239,000 in funds that were intended for the programs to combat underage drinking.

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