Atlanta Man Sentenced To Prison After Submitting Fake Covid Test To Get Off Work
A federal judge has sentenced an Atlanta man to three years in prison and ordered him to pay almost $200,000 to his former employer, after a fake Covid test the man submitted to get out of work triggered an investigation that uncovered even more fraud.
Santwon Antonio Davis, 35, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and bank fraud charges in December.
According to the Justice Department, Davis submitted a fraudulent Covid-19 test showing he tested positive to his employer in May of 2020, which the DOJ only identified as a “Fortune 500 company” with a facility in Atlanta.
The company responded by shutting down and disinfecting its office, while workers were sent home and paid during the shutdown, costing the business more than $100,000, according to the DOJ.
A subsequent investigation into the Covid test found it was fake, but also revealed Davis had defrauded the company in 2019 by taking unwarranted time off after claiming a child of his—who did not exist—had died.
The bank fraud charge came after Davis submitted a mortgage application with “numerous fraudulent statements, including a falsified earnings and employment history” while on pretrial release for defrauding his employer.
The mortgage company, in part, found the fraud because of news coverage of Davis’ fake Covid test, according to the DOJ.
“Davis’ history of lies caught up to him when he took advantage of a pandemic and caused undue harm to the company he worked for and their employees,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office.
$187,550. That’s how much in restitution Davis has been ordered to pay his former employer.
This case is just the latest in a slew Covid fraud and scams that have been uncovered and prosecuted. Instances like Payroll Protection Program fraud and doctors marketing bogus Covid treatments have been among the crimes prosecutors have brought charges for. A new entry on the list of scams came last week, when a California-based naturopathic doctor was arrested for allegedly giving out fake vaccine cards and selling patients pills she falsely claimed would give them lifetime Covid-19 immunity.
The federal government required businesses with fewer than 500 employees to offer two weeks of paid time off under the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” Since it appears Davis worked for a large business, the company may not have been obligated to provide him with time off.