A man in Morrow, Georgia, has been charged for allegedly submitting a fake medical letter for a positive covid-19, defrauding his company and causing an estimated $US100,000 ($152,190) in damages after his employer was forced to close and unnecessarily quarantine several of the man’s colleagues.
According to a complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Santwon Antonio Davis, 34, in late March allegedly told his employer at a plant where he worked that his mother, with whom he lived, had tested positive for covid-19. He later told his supervisor that he had also tested positive for the disease. Davis’ employer, which was identified by the Justice Department as “a Fortune 500 company with a facility located in the Atlanta, Georgia area,” had a covid-19 policy in place that allowed workers to continue being paid while they self-quarantined if they tested positive.
A manager at the plant informed Davis that if he did indeed have covid-19, the plant would be forced to shut down for cleaning and quarantine procedures for colleagues with whom he’d had close contact, the complaint states. Davis was also asked to provide documentation of his covid-19 diagnosis, and Davis emailed a copy of a letter that claimed he had been admitted to Wellstar Atlanta Medical Centre Hospital South on March 20 and should self-quarantine for two weeks. Notably, the letter did not include test results, according to the complaint.
But the HR department at the plant noticed some issues with the document, namely that the letter stated Davis was discharged from the medical facility on November 10—rather than in March, when he claimed he’d been there—and that the letter had no formal letterhead or signature. When the company contacted the medical centre, a staffer told the company that it was not performing covid-19 tests. A further investigation turned up no record of Davis being present at the medical centre during the time he claimed to receive his diagnosis, the complaint states.
After contacting Davis again, at which time he further claimed to be experiencing symptoms of covid-19, the company informed Davis again of the measures that it would need to take if he confirmed his covid-19. After that conversation, Davis allegedly stopped responding to the company’s calls and texts, and he was ultimately fired. The Justice Department said Davis has since admitted that he did not, in fact, have covid-19.
“Scammers continue to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic through a variety of means,” Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement this week. “We receive numerous complaints every day and this case is a reminder that we remain vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting any wrongdoing related to the crisis.”