GATE CITY — A Gate City man accused of falsely claiming a lost wallet filled with $7,000 in cash was indicted last week by a Scott County grand jury on fraud-related charges.
Billy Wayne Hammonds Jr., 30, of Gate City, was charged with a single count of grand larceny by trick, a Class U felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Hammonds was arraigned Wednesday in Scott County Circuit Court.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said the charge stems from an incident that occurred at the Food City in Weber City on Aug. 26.
According to McClung, an older man who was shopping at the store left his wallet at a checkout counter as he was leaving without realizing it.
After several customers had gone through the checkout line, McClung said a store clerk noticed the wallet and, thinking the last person to go through line had left it, ran outside to try and find its owner.
McClung said the clerk approached a man — later identified as Hammonds — in the parking lot who had just gone through her line and asked if the wallet was his. Hammonds reportedly told the clerk it was before leaving the premises.
Authorities allege that once Hammonds found the $7,000 in the wallet, he kept the money and disposed of any credit or identification cards belonging to the wallet’s owner by burning them.
After the wallet’s owner noticed it was missing, McClung said he went to authorities to report the loss. The Weber City Police Department reportedly obtained footage from security cameras at the grocery store, and using stills from the video, identified Hammonds as a suspect, posting his picture on the department’s official Facebook page.
McClung said none of the $7,000 that was in the wallet when it was lost was recovered at the time Hammonds was arrested.
McClung added that the clerk responsible for mistakenly giving Hammonds the wallet has offered to repay the victim the money that was allegedly taken.
McClung stressed that the clerk was not considered at fault, or in danger of facing charges, in the case.