The Charlotte Observer
Robin Folsom’s pregnant belly seemed to be falling away from her body — at least, that’s what a coworker told state investigators.
Now the 43-year-old is facing criminal charges.
An investigation led by the Office of Inspector General in Georgia found the former director of external affairs at the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, or GVRA, received paid leave for a pregnancy she allegedly faked.
A grand jury in Fulton County indicted Folsom on felony charges of identity theft and making false statements on Feb. 10, the state Office of Inspector General said in a Valentine’s Day news release.
“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 in the release.
Folsom oversaw marketing and media communications at GVRA, which helps residents with disabilities find work and live independently.
A representative from the agency did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment on Feb. 15. But the inspector general’s office said she resigned in October shortly after being interviewed by state investigators.
Posts on the GVRA Facebook page show she was hired in a marketing role in February 2016 before being promoted to director of communications and marketing in December that year.
It wasn’t immediately clear when she became director of external affairs or how long she held the position.
Investigators said the alleged fraud dates to July 2020, when Folsom first claimed to have given birth. But the state reportedly didn’t start looking into her until the following year after she announced a second pregnancy.
According to the inspector general’s office, Folsom told Human Resources that she was pregnant in October 2020 and gave birth in May 2021. Investigators said someone claiming to be the baby’s father subsequently emailed GVRA saying Folsom was required to take “several weeks of rest following the delivery.”
Folsom was then granted seven weeks of paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the inspector general’s office said.
There were, however, doubts as to the credibility of her pregnancy.
As investigators began looking into the case, they interviewed a coworker who reported witnessing “the lower portion of Folsom’s stomach ‘come away’ from her body” in March 2021 — about two months before she seemingly gave birth.
Other colleagues also said the pictures she sent seemed to show babies with different skin tones, the inspector general’s office said.
Folsom subsequently claimed to be pregnant again in August 2021, according to the news release.
But when investigators checked with the State Office of Vital Records, the inspector general’s office said, they couldn’t find any birth certificate in which Folsom was listed as the mother. Her medical and insurance records also turned up no evidence that she had given birth.
The Office of the Inspector General brought its findings to the state Attorney General, whose Public Integrity and White Collar Crime Unit shared the evidence with a grand jury.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a separate news release.
Folsom was indicted on one count of identity theft and three counts of making false statements.
If convicted on the identity theft charge, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Folsom would also face between one and five years in prison and a $1,000 fine on each count of making a false statement.