The United States has charged a nurse and a Maritime Corps reservist with selling hundreds of cast coronavirus vaccination cards.
An indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday alleges that 26-year-outdated Jia Liu of Queens, New York, and 27-yr-outdated nurse Steven Rodriguez of Extended Seashore, were included in a scheme to steal blank cards, populate them with phony coronavirus immunization facts and sell them to unvaccinated people.
The defendants are further accused of destroying vials that contains COVID-19 vaccination doses and moving into false COVID-19 vaccination data into New York point out databases, making it possible for unvaccinated men and women to acquire a electronic Excelsior Pass stating that they experienced been vaccinated.
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In a assertion launched February 17, the US Attorney’s Workplace for the Japanese District of New York claimed: “The defendants promoted their scheme via messages on encrypted messaging purposes and on social media.
“They referred to COVID-19 vaccination cards utilizing code names, such as ‘gift playing cards,’ ‘Cardi Bs,’ ‘Christmas cards’ and ‘Pokemon playing cards.'”
Liu and Rodriguez are accused of distributing at least 300 stolen or bogus COVID-19 vaccination playing cards and building extra than 70 false entries in the state’s immunization databases amongst March 2021 and February 2022.
According to court docket documents, Liu bought blank COVID-19 vaccination playing cards from Rodriguez and then cast and offered them to potential buyers and other co-conspirators.
Liu is accused of instructing prospective buyers to meet Rodriguez in particular person at the healthcare clinic in Hempstead, New York, wherever Rodriguez was utilized, to acquire fraudulent playing cards.
Rodriguez would allegedly make it appear as while he experienced administered the vaccine to the customer but would demolish the vial of the vaccine. He would then allegedly give the consumer a forged COVID-19 vaccination card.
Both defendants were being arrested on Thursday. Liu and Rodriguez are each individual billed with just one count of conspiring to defraud the United States Section of Wellbeing and Human Expert services and a single depend of conspiring to commit forgery in connection with a scheme to distribute and market bogus COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Liu, a Maritime Corps reservist corporal, is further billed with one particular rely of conspiring to defraud the United States Office of Protection by giving forged vaccination cards to United States Maritime Corps reservists.
Some parts of this report are sourced from: