Reporting a pregnancy to a place of employment is a routine part of planning for both the mom-to-be and the workplace. If a company offers maternity leave, that time is generally filled with long hours and a different sort of work as the new mom adjusts to life with a new little one.
Unless, of course, the mom-to-be isn’t really expecting, which appears to be the case with one government employee with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, who allegedly faked multiple pregnancies to get paid time off.
Former Director of External Affairs Robin Folsom from Atlanta, Georgia, reported she’d had a child in July 2020. In Oct. 2020, she announced that she was pregnant again.
In May 2021, she allegedly gave birth. Bran Otmembebwe, her supposed partner, then emailed the GVRA saying the doctors were requiring several weeks of rest, so she was granted seven weeks of paid leave that “otherwise would not have been approved,” according to a statement by the Office of the Inspector General of Georgia.
The following August, Folsom again claimed to be pregnant — but red flags started popping up.
Folsom had shared some photos of her baby with other employees, but there were odd inconsistencies, including the fact that the photos “depicted children with varying skin tones.”
A coworker came forward claiming to have seen something rather jarring: She said that in March 2021, she saw the lower part of Folsom’s belly “come away” from her body, raising suspicions that Folsom was wearing fake pregnancy padding.
As investigators pursued the case, they discovered there were no records anywhere — medical records, insurance records or anything with the State Office of Vital Records — indicating that Folsom had ever had a baby.
According to the New York Post, even Bran Otmembebwe was made up and did not exist, other than as a tool for Folsom to use to get some time off.
In October, after an interview with investigators, Folsom resigned from her position.
As a result, Folsom was charged on Feb. 10 with three counts of False Statements and one count of Identity Fraud — for a total of four felony charges — according to the Office of the Inspector General of Georgia.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Chris Carr said, according to Fox News.
“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 [Folsom’s employer] first sent us this case, we thought there had to be a misunderstanding. We couldn’t believe it,” State Inspector General Scott McAfee said, according to All That’s Interesting.
“All state employees, and especially those that communicate with the media and general public on behalf on their agency, should be held to the highest standards of integrity and honesty,” he added, Fox reported.
“OIG will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation.”