An Illinois pharmacist arrested faces 120 years in prison for allegedly selling dozens of authentic COVID-19 vaccination record cards issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr said that knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death.
To put such a small price on the safety of the nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences.
The 34-year-old Tangtang Zhao from Chicago worked as a licensed pharmacist for a nationwide chain of stores and pharmacies that also distributed and administered COVID-19 vaccines.
As per the indictment, Zhao sold 134 real vaccination cards to 11 buyers who paid him roughly $1276, which costs to around $10 per vaccination card.
Zhao is now being charged with 12 counts of theft of government property, facing ten years in prison for each of the counts if found guilty.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of DOJ’s Criminal Division stated that they take seriously, and will vigorously investigate, any criminal offense that contributes to the distrust around vaccines and vaccination status.
In March, US federal agencies warned the public against making or selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards to avoid breaking the law.
The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) also warned against filling in blank vaccination record cards with false information.