The state of Georgia may be dolling out drivers licenses without tests, but they're still enforcing the law, as evidenced by an Atlanta who was charged with wire fraud after faking a coronavirus diagnosis to get out of work. Back in March, Santwon Antonio Davis apparently left work claiming that his mother had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Later he claimed that he'd also contracted the potentially fatal disease.
However, federal prosecutors that are looking into Davis' actions are claiming the documentation he provided to his employer was counterfeit, according to TMZ. Davis apparently provided a falsified letter to his company. However, it didn't include any information about test results, treatment or actual diagnosis. Davis later admitted he'd made the entire thing up, and is being charged with wire fraud.
The company that employs Davis wasn't identified, though it was named as a Fortune 500 company. It's also being reported that the falsified claim ended up costing them close to $100,000 to sanitize the workplace and properly quarantine all employees. There are currently over 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 5.1 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Friday, there were 94,702 deaths.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has been under fire repeatedly for his handling of the pandemic and became one of the first states to lift various Stay-at-Home restrictions, despite the advice of health officials. On May 1, the state reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours of reopening. That same day, Kemp tweeted that "certain businesses across Georgia may resume limited operations, subject to specific, mandatory criteria."
These businesses included "bars, night clubs, amusement parks, live performances venues, and public pools remain closed at this time," Kemp wrote. "Until 11:59 p.m. on May 13, all retail businesses — including food establishments and retail/wholesale grocers — must meet certain minimum criteria to open." He also added that "all non-critical infrastructure businesses that continue in-person operations shall meet the following minimum criteria to be open." Despite the push to get back to normal, the reopening ended up being branded as a "disaster" by local business owners.
In addition to the spike in cases, the widespread unemployment has hit Georgia particularly hard due to an archaic rule about how claims are filed. Under state law, furloughed workers, or those who've had their hours reduced, aren't allowed to file for the claims themselves. Instead, it's up to their employers, who are already short-staffed due to reduced workforces.