ATLANTA — A state official is accused of faking multiple pregnancies and using at least one of those ruses to get out of work and be paid for the time off.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted a former employee of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) on four felony counts: three counts of false statements and one count of identity fraud.
State officials said the 43-year-old Atlanta woman told human resources officials that she was pregnant in October 2020, then announced she had given birth in May 2021. The agency approved about seven weeks of paid leave.
But the scheme soon began to unravel, the Inspector General's Office said.
According to a release from the Inspector General's Office, GVRA received an email from an individual claiming to be the father of the child and that the state official had been mandated several weeks of rest following her "delivery."
Investigators also found that in March 2021, a co-worker saw the lower portion of the woman's stomach "come away" from her body, and believed she had been wearing a fake pregnant stomach.
Additionally, she sent pictures of her newborn to various GVRA employees. However, the pictures appeared to be "inconsistent and depicted children with varying skin tones," the release stated.
She had also previously reported the birth of a child in July 2020 and claimed she was pregnant again in August 2021, the Inspector General's Office said.
Investigators learned that the State Office of Vital Records did not have any birth certificates listing the woman as a mother. After reviewing medical and insurance records, investigators found no indication that she had ever delivered a child.
She resigned in October 2021 shortly after an interview with investigators.
“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,” State Inspector General Scott McAfee said. “OIG will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation.”
The Georgia Attorney General's Office will prosecute the case.