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Man pleads guilty after lying about having COVID-19

December 14, 2020 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia man who lied to his employer that he had tested positive for COVID-19 pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges, prosecutors said.

Santwon Antonio Davis, 35, pleaded guilty to wire fraud for defrauding his employer by sending a fake medical excuse letter in May, the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta said in a news release Monday. Because Davis said he’d tested positive, his employer had to shut down its plant for sanitizing and put several other employees on paid leave while they quarantined, causing the company a loss of more than $100,000, prosecutors said.

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Davis also pleaded guilty to bank fraud for submitting false information to a mortgage company while he was out on bond for the wire fraud charge.

Davis “caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, said in a news release.

Davis worked for an unnamed Fortune 500 company with a plant in the Atlanta area, prosecutors have said. The company’s human resources manager saw some indications of fraud while reviewing the medical excuse letter he submitted, according to court filings.

While he was out on bond, he submitted a mortgage application that included false earnings and employment history. News stories on the COVID-19 charge helped the mortgage company uncover that fraud, prosecutors said.

Davis sentencing date has not been set yet.