A former Georgia official has been indicted for faking a pregnancy in order to take paid maternity leave, going as far as sharing baby photos and naming the father.
Robin Folsom, former Director of External Affairs for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA), was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on four felony counts: three counts of False Statements and one count of Identity Fraud, according to the Georgia Office of the Inspector General.
“In October 2020, Folsom informed the human resources division that she was pregnant, and eventually announced that she had given birth in May 2021. GVRA leadership later received an email from an individual claiming to be the father of the child and stating that Folsom had been mandated several weeks of rest following the delivery,” the IG’s office reported in a press release.
The agency gave a green light to Folsom’s request, allowing seven weeks of paid maternity leave “that it otherwise would not have approved.”
The investigation revealed that in March 2021, a co-worker believed Folsom was wearing a false pregnancy belly after she noticed that it appeared to “come away” from her body. The 43-year-old had also reportedly sent photos of the newborn baby to co-workers but, according to the IG press release, “the pictures appeared to be inconsistent and depicted children with varying skin tones.”
“All state employees, and especially those that communicate with the media and general public on behalf on their agency, should be held to the highest standards of integrity and honesty,” said State Inspector General Scott McAfee. “OIG will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation.”
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The investigation revealed that this was not Folsom’s first “pregnancy.”
According to the press release:
Folsom had previously reported the birth of a child in July 2020, and claimed she was again pregnant in August 2021. OIG learned that the State Office of Vital Records did not possess any birth certificate listing Folsom as a mother, and a review of medical and insurance records found no indication that Folsom had ever delivered a child. Folsom resigned in October 2021 shortly after an interview with OIG investigators.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” state Attorney General Chris Carr said this week. “By working with Georgia’s independent Inspector General, we were able to discover, investigate and put an end to this alleged deception. We will always stand up to protect taxpayer dollars, and we look forward to presenting our case in court.”
If convicted, Folsom can face 1-10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for identity fraud. Each count of making false statements could carry a 1 to 5-year jail sentence and/or a fine of $1,000.
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