Now that we’re seeing more and more companies asking for patron’s vaccine standing after they stroll by means of the door, cast vaccine playing cards are shortly turning into a hot commodity amongst people which are both unable or unwilling to get the true deal. And now, the Justice Division is taking discover. On Tuesday, the company announced the arrest of 1 Chicago pharmacist on fees surrounding his alleged facet hustle promoting off COVID-19 vaccination playing cards.
Per the DOJ’s announcement, the pharmacist in query —34-year-outdated Tangtang Zhao, of Chicago—was caught after he had offered 125 genuine CDC vaccination playing cards at roughly $10 a pop utilizing his eBay account. Particulars in Zhao’s indictment present that these playing cards had been doled out between 11 totally different patrons, with one spending greater than $175 in a single buy. The majority of those buys occurred between March and April of this 12 months, across the similar time that the FBI put out a public memo letting individuals know that producing these playing cards was a criminal offense.
The indictment fees Zhao with 12 counts of theft of presidency property from the pharmacy the place he was working, which isn’t instantly named within the paperwork however appears to be Walgreens, in keeping with public records. Per the announcement, he faces a sentence of 10 years in jail for every of these counts if convicted, which means that he may wind up serving a whopping 120-year jail sentence consequently.
“Stealing and promoting COVID-19 vaccination playing cards is inexcusable and won’t be tolerated,” stated Particular Agent in Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Division of Well being & Human Providers in a press release
“Fraudsters who interact in such illegal conduct undermine efforts to handle the pandemic and revenue on the public’s expense,” he went on. “The well being and security of the general public is our prime precedence, and we encourage individuals to acquire vaccination playing cards from their administering medical suppliers.”
This case marks the second time that the DOJ has intervened in the black marketplace for bogus vaccine playing cards. Final month, the division arrested a California-based homeopathic physician over claims that she was promoting phony vaccination playing cards and “immunization pellets” to her clientele.
Between all of the free perks being doled out throughout the nation to encourage individuals to get the jab, and the shortly mounting court docket circumstances dealing with those that have tried circumventing the system, hopefully, extra individuals can be satisfied to get their playing cards free of charge, the best way authorities supposed. Zhao will make his first look in court docket on Tuesday.