Atlanta man pleads guilty to lying about Covid-19 test to obtain employee leave benefits

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Atlanta US Attorney’s Office

The feds are cracking down on Georgia employees who submitted fake medical excuse letters that claim they fell ill after testing positive for Covid-19.

Santwon Antonio Davis, of Atlanta, was charged with wire fraud for emailing a phony Covid-19 medical excuse letter to his employer in May 2020.

Davis, 35, also pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to the scheme to defraud a mortgage company while he was out on bond for the Covid-19 wire fraud charge.

“The defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will take quick action through the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force to put a stop to Coronavirus-related fraud schemes.”

Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said Davis caused “undue harm to the company he worked for and their employees,” after the corporation sent employees home and shut down the Atlanta facility for cleaning.

Employees were paid to stay home – a loss in excess of $100,000 to the corporation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia.

According to the complaint, the defendant was hit with an additional charge for submitting fraudulent documentation to obtain benefits from his employer prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Davis allegedly submitted a paid bereavement leave claim for the death of his child in the fall of 2019. But a subsequent investigation determined the child did not exist.

Davis’ arrest is among the first in Covid-19-related employee fraud investigations currently underway in Georgia.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General.

“The FBI and our federal and state partners remain vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting any fraud related to this crisis we are all facing,” said Hacker.

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