A Georgia man is facing charges after authorities say he lied to his employer that he had tested positive for coronavirus to enjoy some time off. However, his "lie" allegedly cost the company hundreds and thousands of dollars in damages after the plant where he worked had to be shut down for sanitization.
Santwon Antonio Davis, 34, is being charged of fraud by his employer, the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta said Thursday, May 21.
Employee Charged with Fraud
After Davis said he was diagnosed with the deadly and contagious virus, his employer had to not only shut down its plant for decontamination but also had to put other employees on paid leave so they could quarantine, incurring the company a loss of more than $100,000, prosecutors said.
"The defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his co-workers and their families," U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay' Pak" said in a statement. "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."
Davis Lied to Enjoy Paid Leave
According to prosecutors, Davis has since admitted that he did not contract COVID-19. Davis worked for an unnamed Fortune 500 company that had a plant in Atlanta and a Facebook profile linked to him to the company still.
On March 12 and 13, the company conducted mandatory training on how employees could access information on its website about COVID-19 and employees were told they would receive paid time off to quarantine should they tested positive for the disease.
A week later, Davis told his supervisors that his mother, who lives with him, had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and had been told to self-quarantine, according to a statement from an FBI agent filed in court.
A week later, Davis told his supervisors at work that he could continue working because that was a "low risk" exposure. The following day, Davis messaged his supervisor that his mother had developed symptoms overnight and they were waiting for her test results. The supervisor insisted that Davis resume work due to his "low risk" exposure but he did not show up.
Over that weekend, Davis texted his supervisor to say that his mom had tested positive and that he also had a fever. The subsequent day he informed the supervisor that he too had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Falsifying Medical Records
The supervisor then asked Davis to send him a copy of his test results and explained that if he had tested positive, the company would have to shut down the plant for cleaning and other employees who may have come in close contact with him would have to quarantine.
The company's HR department examined the medical record submitted by Davis and found some indications of fraud. For instance, it said he was discharged in November 2019, the document was unsigned and was not on a formal letterhead.
The company also reached out to the hospital where Davis said he was tested and found out that it wasn't conducting COVID-19 tests at all. Relying on what Davis had said, the company closed its plant on March 23 for cleaning and paid salaries of at least four employees while they quarantined because they'd been in close contact with Davis, the agent's statement says.