(NEXSTAR) – A former communications director for the state of Georgia faces charges after she allegedly used a fake pregnant stomach as part of a paid leave scheme.
Robin Folsom, 43, of Atlanta, was indicted last week on three counts of false statements and one count of identity fraud after she allegedly falsified multiple pregnancies.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a news release Monday. “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.”
Folsom, who worked as the director of external affairs for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, told human resources in October 2020 that she was pregnant. In May 2021, the department got an email from a person claiming to be the father, announcing the birth of the child.
Human resources approved seven weeks of paid leave for Folsom to take doctor-ordered bed rest, but Folsom’s pregnancy story fell apart later that year, the Georgia Office of the Inspector General announced this week.
Two months before Folsom claimed to have given birth, a co-worker had noticed that part of her pregnant belly appeared to “come away” from her body and began suspecting the stomach was fake. The investigation also uncovered that Folsom allegedly sent pictures to her co-workers purporting to show the newborn, but the photos showed children with varying skin tones.
The OIG’s office reports that Folsom also reported giving birth to a child in July 2020 and claimed one month later that she was pregnant again. Investigators said they checked with the State Office of Vital Records and found that there was no birth certificate with her name listed.
“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,” said State Inspector General Scott McAfee. “OIG will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation.”
Identity fraud can be punishable by 1-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. False statement sentences can be 1-5 years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.
Folsom stepped down from her position in October 2021 after an interview with OIG investigators.