The FBI has arrested a Georgia man and charged him with defrauding an Atlanta-based company where he worked by allegedly lying about having COVID-19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a press release Thursday.
Santwon Antonio Davis, 34, allegedly faked a a note from his doctor saying he had the coronavirus, which prompting his employer, a Fortune 500 company that the FBI didn’t identify, to shut down in order to sanitize the site.
Davis has since admitted that he never had COVID-19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the release.
“The defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak. “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.”
“Scammers continue to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic through a variety of means,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We receive numerous complaints every day and this case is a reminder that we remain vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting any wrongdoing related to the crisis.”
The statement said the company lost around $100,000 by closing the business and still paying all of its employees at the workplace. The false claim also caused several of Davis’ coworkers also unnecessarily quarantined themselves, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Members of the public are reminded that the complaint only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell Phillips and Sarah Klapman are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Georgia’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fraud Task Force, aimed at better protecting the citizens of Georgia from criminal fraud arising from the pandemic. Formed by Georgia’s leading state and federal prosecutors, the task force serves to open channels of communication between partner agencies and more rapidly share information about COVID-19 fraud, while ensuring each fraud complaint is reported to the appropriate prosecuting agency. The task force member agencies include the Office of the Governor of Georgia, the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Georgia’s three U.S. Attorneys, the Attorney General of Georgia, and the Executive Counsel for the Governor’s Office serve on the task force.
Davis has previously served 18 months in three different prison sentences since 2006, for theft, criminal damage to property and trespassing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
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