It was March 2021, two months before Robin Folsom’s due date, when the government employee’s co-worker noticed something was off about her baby bump. The lower part of Folsom’s stomach appeared to be detached from her body.
“[The co-worker] believed Folsom wore a fake pregnant stomach,” the Georgia Office of the Inspector General said in a news release this week.
The co-worker’s observation is one of several findings from the inspector general’s investigation that support allegations that Folsom, 43, faked multiple pregnancies. On Feb. 10, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Folsom on three felony counts of making false statements and one felony count of identity fraud.
Folsom worked as director of external affairs for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, where she oversaw marketing and media communications, before resigning last year.
“All state employees … should be held to the highest standards of integrity and honesty,” Georgia Inspector General Scott McAfee said in a statement, adding that his office “will continue to hold state employees accountable if they choose to deceive their superiors and receive undeserved compensation.”
Folsom did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment late Thursday. Court records do not indicate whether she has an attorney.
Folsom reported her pregnancy to human resources in October 2020, according to the inspector general’s office. She announced she gave birth on May 1, 2021, the indictment says.
On May 6, leaders at the agency received an email from a man named Bran Otmembebwe, who said he was the father of Folsom’s newborn baby, according to the indictment. He claimed that Folsom’s doctor “mandated several weeks of rest following the delivery,” the inspector general’s office said. Her employer gave her seven weeks of paid leave “that it otherwise would not have approved.”
Until recently, Georgia government employees could take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. On May 5, 2021, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill granting state employees three weeks of paid parental leave.
The inspector general’s investigation found that Folsom shared pictures of an infant she said was her baby with her co-workers, who noticed the “pictures appeared to be inconsistent and depicted children with varying skin tones,” the news release says. Investigators also learned that Otmembebwe did not exist.
Folsom has claimed other pregnancies, investigators found. She said she had a child on July 25, 2020, and said she was pregnant again in August 2021, three months after supposedly giving birth to her second child. But when the inspector general’s office contacted the state Office of Vital Records to corroborate Folsom’s claims with birth certificates, “a review of medical and insurance records found no indication that Folsom had ever delivered a child,” authorities said.
Investigators interviewed Folsom in October 2021, when they say she lied once when asked whether Otmembebwe was a real person, according to the indictment, and two more times when asked about the previous children she’d reported having.
Folsom resigned from her position at Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency not long after the interview.
“Fraud by state employees will not be tolerated,” state Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement. “By working with Georgia’s independent Inspector General, we were able to discover, investigate and put an end to this alleged deception. We will always stand up to protect taxpayer dollars, and we look forward to presenting our case in court.”
Folsom is due back in court on April 4. She faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and up to $103,000 in fines if found guilty of all four charges.