A federal jury convicted Tangtang Zhao of Chicago for stealing and selling CDC-issued COVID-19 vaccination cards in March and April 2021, the Department of Justice said.
Zhao was convicted on 12 counts of theft of government property. He will be sentenced in November.
The Department of Justice accused Zhao of taking the vaccine cards from his pharmacy and selling them to buyers across the country online. The DOJ said Zhao had access to the vaccine cards as he and others at his pharmacy administered COVID-19 shots.
The DOJ said he sold 630 of these cards to 200 unique buyers. He made $5,600 off the scheme, the DOJ said. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
According to the indictment, Zhao charged about $10 for each COVID-19 vaccine card.
"Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death," said Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI's Chicago Field Office. "To put such a small price on the safety of our 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."
Following the release of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, some companies required employees to show proof of vaccination to continue employment. Additionally, some collegiate institutions required students to be vaccinated.
Zhao is not the only one who has been convicted for illegally selling COVID-19 vaccine cards. Last year, a federal court convicted Juli A. Mazi, a California-licensed naturopathic doctor, on one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements related to health care matters. The DOJ said Mazi sold homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets and falsified COVID-19 vaccination cards by making it appear that customers had received the Food and Drug Administration-authorized Moderna vaccine.
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