Atlanta man who lied about having COVID-19 charged with fraud

A Georgia company is out 100K when an employee used the coronavirus pandemic to enrich himself

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A Georgia man is now facing fraud charges after authorities say he lied to his employer about testing positive for COVID-19 so he could have paid time off.

According to TMZ, on Thursday Santwon Antonio Davis was charged with fraud by the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta by claiming he’d tested positive for the virus, causing his employer to shut down its plant for sanitizing.

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Authorities said Davis worked for an unnamed Fortune 500 company with a plant in the Atlanta area. His Facebook profile indicated that the company was PPG Industries.

During the chaos set off by his claims, several other employees also had to be placed on paid leave while they quarantined, and prosecutors say the company ultimately lost over $100,000.

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

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11th and on March 12th and 13th, the company held a mandatory training where employees were informed they would receive paid time off to quarantine if they tested positive.

A week later, Davis told his supervisors his mother, with whom he lived, had been exposed to someone who’d tested positive for COVID-19 and had been advised to self-quarantine.

His supervisor said Davis should continue working because that still made him a low-risk exposure. But the next day, Friday, March 20th, Davis texted his supervisor to say his mother had developed symptoms overnight. On Saturday,, he sent an update that his mom had tested positive for COVID-19. And on Sunday he completed his scheme by claiming he’d tested positive as well.

The company’s human resources manager eventually reviewed the medical excuse letter Davis sent and saw some indications of fraud, and when he refused to submit his test results he was terminated.

The 34-year-old has since come clean that he never had the virus.

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But federal agents say that before he was caught, on March 23rd, the company closed its plant on March 23 for cleaning and paid salaries of at least four employees who’d been in close contact with him.

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