Friday 18 February 2022

Georgia state official used fake pregnancy belly, fake baby photos, fake father in scheme to collect paid maternity leave, authorities say

 A Georgia state official who resigned several months ago used a fake pregnancy belly, fake baby photos, and a non-existent father in a scheme to collect paid maternity leave from her job which paid $100,000 annually, authorities are saying.

What are the details?

As director of external affairs at the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Robin Folsom supervised marketing and media communications, WSB-TV reported.

But apparently selling her own pregnancy story wasn't among her best skills.

The state Office of the Inspector General said in a release that its "investigation revealed that in March 2021, a co-worker observed the lower portion of Folsom’s stomach ‘come away’ from her body and believed Folsom wore a fake pregnancy stomach," the station said.

“The GVRA employees, the human resources, just started putting two and two together. Things weren’t adding up, and thankfully they didn’t shrug it off," State Inspector General Scott McAfee added to WSB. "They realized that this was something that was more serious.”

OIG investigators questioned Folsom last October, the station said, adding that she stuck to her story — and then resigned.

WSB added that according to the indictment obtained by the state Attorney General's Office, Folsom made up a father named “Bran Otmembebwe."

“We ultimately didn’t find any evidence that he existed," McAfee told the station. "That’s why she’s also been charged with identity fraud."

What's more, she sent photos of her newborn to various GVRA employees — but they appeared "inconsistent and depicted children with varying skin tones," the release stated, according to WXIA-TV.

WSB also said investigators found no evidence Folsom delivered children at Piedmont Hospital — as she claimed — and McAfee added that other key records failed to support her claims of giving birth in July 2020 and again in May 2021.

The upshot is that the 43-year-old Atlanta woman told human resources officials she was pregnant in October 2020, and then announced she had given birth in May 2021, WXIA said, adding that the agency approved about seven weeks of paid leave.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted her on three felony counts of false statements and one felony count of identity fraud, WXIA reported.

WSB said it wasn't able to reach Folsom for comment.

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