ATLANTA , GEORGIA- Santwon Antonio Davis has pleaded guilty to wire fraud related to a scheme to defraud his employer in May 2020 by submitting a fraudulent COVID-19 medical excuse letter. He also pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to a scheme to defraud a mortgage company while he was on bond for the earlier COVID-19 wire fraud charge.
“The defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will take quick action through the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force to put a stop to Coronavirus-related fraud schemes.”
“Davis’ streak of lies ended when he took advantage of a pandemic to cause undue harm to the company he worked for and their employees,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI and our federal and state partners remain vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting any fraud related to this crisis we are all facing.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Davis, who was employed by a company with a facility located in the Atlanta, falsely claimed to have contracted COVID-19 and submitted a falsified medical record to his employer. In concern for its employees and customers, the corporation closed its facility for cleaning and paid its employees during the shutdown. This caused a loss in excess of $100,000 to the corporation and the unnecessary quarantine of several of the defendant’s coworkers.
During the COVID-19 fraud investigation, agents uncovered a previous incident in which the defendant submitted fraudulent documentation to obtain benefits from his employer. Specifically, in the fall of 2019, the defendant created and submitted false documentation to support a paid bereavement leave claim for the death of his child. This child never existed and was fabricated so that the defendant could obtain benefits to which he was not entitled.
Finally, while on pretrial release in the original COVID-19 case, the defendant submitted a mortgage application with numerous fraudulent statements, including a falsified earnings and employment history. The mortgage company discovered the fraud, in part, after seeing the news stories related to his original COVID-19 charge.
Santwon Antonio Davis, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William M. Ray, II, to a wire fraud charge related to a scheme to defraud his employer and to a bank fraud charge relating to the mortgage fraud. Davis was previously charged via an information with wire fraud in May 2020. He pleaded guilty admitting that he falsely represented he had COVID-19 and to other fraud offenses that were uncovered during the COVID-19 fraud investigation. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General offered valuable assistance in this investigation.
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. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at www.justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm.