Former State Official Charged for Faking Pregnancy in Paid Leave Scheme
Former Georgia state official Robin Folsom has been charged with fraud for allegedly using maternity leave after faking not one, but two pregnancies.
Red flags — and eyebrows — were initially raised last year when a co-worker noticed that the lower part of Folsom's pregnant belly had “come away” from her body.
In the months following her May 2021 "delivery date," Folsom reportedly sent co-workers photos of the supposed newborn to keep up the illusion.
However, co-workers noticed something suspicious: the photos didn’t appear to be of the same child. According to a press release issued by the Office of the Inspector General, the images “depicted children with varying skin tones.”
As more red flags were raised, investigators discovered it was not the first time Folsom had allegedly faked a pregnancy.
Folsom reportedly informed the agency that she had also welcomed a baby in July 2020, but investigators could find no medical documents or insurance records to corroborate her claim.
Folsom also allegedly fabricated a father for her children, a man named Bran Otmembebwe. Otmembebwe supposedly sent Folson's employers an email after her “first pregnancy,” alerting them that she required several weeks of bed rest under doctor’s orders.
Folsom stepped away from her role in October 2021 after investigators launched their probe.
According to the state Attorney General Chris Carr, Folsom has been charged with three counts of making false statements and one count of identity fraud. A local grand jury has indicted her for criminal use of the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” Carr said in a statement. “By working with Georgia’s independent inspector general, we were able to discover, investigate and put an end to this alleged deception. We will always stand up to protect taxpayer dollars, and we look forward to presenting our case in court.”
“When GVRA first sent us this case, we thought there had to be a misunderstanding. We couldn’t believe it,” State Inspector General Scott McAfee told News Channel 2.
“All state employees, and especially those that communicate with the media and general public on behalf of their agency, should be held to the highest standards of integrity and honesty,” McAfee said in a separate statement. “OIG will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation."
Folsom, who served as the Director of External Affairs at the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, reportedly collected an annual salary of approximately $100,000 for overseeing the agency’s marketing and media communications.