Robin Folsom of Atlanta was a Georgia state employee who was accused of faking two pregnancies and indicted for false statements and identity fraud, officials said. A coworker recalled images of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency with a fake pregnant belly, and Folsom sent pictures of a baby she claimed was hers, according to charging documents.
Folsom, 43, told her office that she was pregnant and took maternity leave, the Office of the Inspector General announced Monday, February 14, 2022, after she was indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury. Folsom resigned from her position as Director of External Affairs for the GRVA after she was questioned by OIG officials in October 2021, officials said.
Folsom’s coworkers had their suspicions about Folsom, they told investigators. One coworker said she believed she noticed Folsom’s fake belly coming off of her body, and others said that images Folsom claimed were her newborn baby did not appear to show the same child, officials said.
Archived documents from the GVRA indicate she was not always an employee who was angling for time off work. Her boss said in a keynote speech that she was the first person in the office in the morning and the last one to leave. She rose through the ranks in her decades of government work, and was named to a high-level leadership role, the documents say.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Coworker Told Officials She Saw Folsom’s Baby Bump ‘Come Away’ From Her Stomach
In March 2021, a coworker became suspicious of Folsom when she saw the lower portion of Folsom’s stomach “come away” from her body, according to the OIG. The coworker believed Folsom was wearing a fake pregnant stomach, officials said.
Officials allege this was the second time Folsom faked a pregnancy. She had previously reported giving birth to a child in July 2020, and then said she was pregnant again in August 2021, the OIG said. However, officials found no evidence that Folsom ever had a child.
“OIG learned that the State Office of Vital Records did not possess any birth certificate listing Folsom as a mother, and a review of medical and insurance records found no indication that Folsom had ever delivered a child. Folsom resigned in October 2021 shortly after an interview with OIG investigators,” the OIG said in a statement.
WSB TV reported that Folsom had a salary of about $100,000, and estimated that the disputed leave time cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
2. Folsom Was Commended By the GVRA Executive Director for ‘Being There Almost 24/7’
Sean Casey, who was previously the executive director of the GVRA and Folsom’s boss, commended her in a keynote speech for being an incredibly hardworking employee. He said Folsom was the person who turned the lights on in the office in the morning and turned them off in the evening. He went on to say that she was there “almost 24/7.”
He took a break in his speech to thank her and to apologize for going off script in the speech she wrote, according to the speech transcript.
The transcript says:
I also want to say a special, I guess, apology, and say sorry, to a woman I work with, Robin, who’s in charge of communications. And as far as I know, Robin really does two things. She literally turns the lights on in the morning at the office, and then she turns them off at night. She is there almost 24-7. And she wrote this great speech. And Robin, I apologize, because what I’m doing is just kind of throwing it away now, because I just want to speak from the heart.
3. Folsom Sent Pictures of a Baby to Coworkers & They Said the Images Showed Infants With Varying Skin Tones
While Folsom was on maternity leave, she sent pictures to employees, claiming the images showed her new baby, according to the OIG. But coworkers were again suspicious, officials said, this time because the photos did not appear to show the same child. Coworkers told the OIG the pictures “appeared to be inconsistent and depicted children with varying skin tones,” the OIG said.
A Fulton County Grand Jury indicted Folsom on four felony counts on February 10, 2022. She is facing three counts of false statements and one count of identity fraud, officials said.
“All state employees, and especially those that communicate with the media and general public on behalf on 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.”
He told WSB TV that Folsom’s alleged scheme began to unravel due to her employees’ observations.
“The GVRA employees, the human resources, just started putting two and two together. Things weren’t adding up, and thankfully they didn’t shrug it off. They realized that this was something that was more serious,” he told the news station.
4. An Email From Someone Claiming to be the Father of Folsom’s Baby Said Doctors Ordered Her to Extra Time Off
Folsom told her employer that she had given birth in May 2021, according to the OIG. Leadership at her office later received an email from a person claiming to be the father of Folsom’s child. It said that she was ordered to several additional weeks of rest after her baby was delivered, OIG officials said.
Because of the email, she was granted an additional seven weeks of paid FMLA leave, OIG officials said.
Folsom’s case will be prosecuted by the Georgia Office of the Attorney General.
“OIG appreciates the assistance provided by GVRA during this investigation, which demonstrates a commitment to a state government free from fraud,” an OIG statement said.
WSB TV reported the father’s name was Bran Otmembebwe, and that the OIG found no evidence he existed.
5. Folsom Worked in Government for More Than 2 Decades Following Work in Broadcast
Folsom was promoted to the GVRA admin leadership team in 2020, according to the agency’s spring 2020 newsletter. She had worked in government affairs, economic development, communications and media relations for 23 years at the time, the newsletter says. Folsom joined the agency as a marketing manager and rose through the ranks to become the director of communications and marketing, the GVRA said.
“In that role, Robin developed the agency’s first strategic marketing plan with annual goals and measurable benchmarks. She also established an extensive collection of video, web and print assets to support coworkers in the field with key outreach tools in accessible formats,” the newsletter said.
Before joining the GVRA, she worked in television news and served in other public service roles, including working with the Georgia Department of Labor as Director of Workforce Development Finance Programs and at the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development as program
coordinator for the Georgia Work Ready initiative, the newsletter said.
“In her new capacity, Robin oversees legislative affairs, board and council relations, communications and marketing. She will prioritize timely communication and maximization of resources dedicated to outreach. One of her first goals is providing agency-wide visibility into the administrative support services available in the new organizational structure,” the newsletter said.
GVRA archives list Folsom as the media contact for dozens of press releases and other statements spanning several years. She also regularly spoke at GVRS board meetings.