Dec 16, 2020 10:13 AM EST
A man from Atlanta was guilty of wire fraud after faking the COVID-19 diagnosis that cost his company hundreds of thousands, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
According to Business Insider, while on bond for his original COVID-19 wire fraud charge, the defendant pleaded guilty to bank fraud after falsifying files to a mortgage company. Officials announced that Santwin Antonio Davis was charged with defrauding his Fortune 500 employer in Mnay, due to falsified filing of medical record claiming that he contracted the coronavirus.
The company shut down its Atlanta establishment for caution and cleaning while it continues paying its employees. Davis' false COVID-19 diagnosis cost the company more than $100,000 and forced to conduct unnecessary quarantine of several workers, the DOJ said.
The U.S. Attorney Byung Pak said in a statement that the defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to the company and distressed his coworkers as well as their families. Byung Pak added that they will take immediate action to end the coronavirus-related fraud schemes through the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force.
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Federal authorities uncovered additional evidence while under investigation, revealing that the Atlanta man told his company that his child died. He also submitted documents for paid mourning leave related to his child's death. The child never existed, and the Davis papers filed were fabricated to obtain benefits, authorities discovered.
Moreover, the Atlanta man submitted a mortgage application with different fraudulent statements when on pretrial release due to his original charge in the COVID-19 diagnosis wire fraud case. The fraudulent statements regarding mortgage applications include employment history and fabricated earnings.
The mortgage company learned about the fraud after seeing the defendant's COVID-19 charges in the news, as per the release.
Chris Hacker, a special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said Davis' streak of lies ended when he used the pandemic's advantage to cause the employees' excessive cost and the company he worked for. He added that the FBI and the federal and state partners remain alert in determining, investigating, and prosecuting fraud related to the COVID-19 crisis that all people are facing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case with the Urban Development Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Housing. The report says sentencing has not been scheduled.
In March, U.S. Attorney General William Barr sent a memorandum to the U.S. attorneys to warn about fraudulent acts linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barr wrote, "The COVID-19 pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to benefit from public panic and this sort of act cannot be tolerated. Every U.S. Attorney's Office is thus hereby directed to prioritize the investigation, detection and prosecution of all criminal acts linked to the current pandemic."
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