Austin Public Health employee accused of faking job offer letters, lying to investigators

An Austin Public Health employee has been accused of committing fraud and providing false statements to city investigators, according to a City audit.

Johnetta Lindsay misused her City computer and other City resources for her personal benefit, an audit report from the City auditor's office claims. The report says Lindsay, a patient representative, created fake job offer letters from Austin Public Health and two other companies. 

The letter was addressed to one of her relatives, who the report says is not a City employee and, according to Lindsay herself, never applied for a City job. The job offer was for a Nurse Auditing Coder Lead, a position that does not exist, for an annual salary of $65,208.00, chosen as it was three times the annual rent of the apartment, according to Lindsay.

The report says Lindsay told investigators she created the letter "with the intention of sending it to an apartment complex where she wanted to rent an apartment for herself, but under her relative's name."

The letter also suggests it was written and signed by a Program Supervisor, but the employee named in the letter does not hold the title and their name was also misspelled, says the report. Lindsay admitted to forging the employee's signature and said they never saw the letter but maintained the employee was aware she was drafting the letter and using their name.

The employee told investigators Lindsay had only asked them to be a "reference" and that they were unaware she intended to use their name on a fake letter, the report said.

Investigators also found four other job offer letters from two different companies addressed to the same relative. The report says Lindsay admitted to making them on her City computer but said she thought she deleted them. A review of her browser history showed an image search for the logo of one of the companies, which she used on three of the fake job offer letters. 

She also admitted to using her City computer to search for vacant warehouses so she could use the addresses on her letters.

She denied using the APH letter but admitted to using one of the other letters with her application to an apartment complex in her relative's name. 

In addition to the fake job offer letters, Lindsay allegedly created a fake patient profile in the patient records system to use her City-issued scanner to scan documents belonging to her fiance, and tried 10 times to fax those documents to a third party for private purposes. When she failed to do so, witnesses say she attempted to use one of APH's stand-alone fax machines.

APH management said while City Code and personnel policies allow for limited use of City equipment and supplies for "small, minor or insignificant" tasks, the creation of a fake patient would be a violation of department policy.

Lindsay also reportedly used her City internet, email, and computer for other non-City purposes:

  • 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 her computer not appearing to be related to her job, including the fake job offer letters, personal financial records and files related to her apartment
  • At least 20 emails either received by or sent from her City email, including five containing personal documents emailed to her from a City scanner

Lindsay also told investigators she had permission to use the name and logo of one of the companies for the fake offer letters. She said the permission came from her friend who she claimed was the CEO and founder, but the company's website did not identify her friend as its CEO or as one of its founders and their telephone directory did not list them as an employee, the report says. 

The person in question said they weren't familiar with the company and denied being its CEO or founder, but admitted to knowing Lindsay and giving her permission to use them as a "personal reference". The report says the person denied knowing her relative and said they never gave Lindsay permission to use their name on fake job offer letters.

Lindsay was placed on administrative leave in March and resigned before disciplinary action was initiated.