Public health employee committed fraud; lied to investigators, report claims

Austin
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to a report released from the Office of the City Auditor, Johnetta Lindsay, a patient representative at Austin Public Health (APH), is accused of misusing her assigned computer and other city resources for her personal benefit.

APH management discovered the suspected misuse of department equipment in March which triggered an official internal investigation while also placing Lindsay on administrative leave. The Office of the City Auditor was also contacted in April to begin a full investigation.

The report claims Lindsay created fake job offer letters from Austin Public Health and other companies, sending at least one letter as proof of income when applying for an apartment lease. The forged letter’s content was a job offer for the position of “Nurse Auditing Coder Lead,” which is not a position the city has available, and a fake salary of $65,208.00, three times the annual rent amount listed in the apartment rental application, according to the report.

The alleged fake letter had the signature of another employee at APH titled “Program Supervisor,” but the employee’s name was misspelled and the employee did not have that title. The report states that Lindsay admitted to forging the employee’s name to the faked letter and stated the other employee never saw the letter. However, Lindsay maintained throughout the interview with APH investigators that the employee was aware of their name being used in the letter. When the other employee was questioned, they said they were unaware of the letter and that Lindsay only asked them to be a “reference,” according to the report.

The investigation alleges that Lindsay’s web browser history had image searches for logos of other companies that were attached to four unique job offer letters sent to relatives of Lindsay. The search history was also for vacant warehouses so that she could use the addresses as the company’s address on the fake letters.

Lindsay allegedly told investigators she had permission to use the company logos, claiming a friend was CEO of one of the companies. A search on the companies website did not identify the person as the CEO of the company.

The report also alleges Lindsay created a fake patient in the patient records system which she would use to scan personal documents and then attempt to fax them. When the fax wouldn’t send through the patient record system, Lindsay is accused of using the department’s main fax machine to send the documents.

“Although Austin’s City Code and personnel policies allow for the limited use of City equipment or supplies for “small, minor or insignificant” tasks, ” the report states, “APH management said that the creation of a fake patient would be a violation of department policy.”

The report also faults Lindsay for not cooperating with the investigation by lying with investigators, which goes against city policy.

A list of alleged misuses are:

  • Over 7,200 web browser hits related to apartment searches
  • Over 3,900 web browser hits to Lindsay’s personal email account
  • At least 44 documents stored on Lindsay’s City computer that did not appear related to her City job. Documents included the fake job offer letters described above, as well as personal financial documents, and files related to her apartment
  • At least 20 emails that were either received by or sent from Lindsay’s City email account that did not appear related to her City job. Included in this count are 5 emails containing personal documents that were emailed to her from a City scanner. One of these scanned documents was the fake APH job offer letter

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