A California bar owner has been charged with multiple felonies for allegedly producing and selling fake COVID-19 vaccine verification cards.
What are the details?
Officials say Todd Anderson, who owns The Old Corner Saloon in Clements, created the false documents and sold them to patrons for $20 a pop.
After obtaining a search warrant following a tip, authorities were able to launch an operation where undercover law enforcement agents purchased four cards at the bar, and were able to witness eight patrons doing the same thing.
In the course of the sting operation, officials said they also found laminating equipment and roughly 30 blank cards.
“It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar told KHOU-TV.
“Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you,” Salazar said. “The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is grateful for the partnership with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for their work in this case.”
The bar owner faces three felony charges, including carrying an unregistered firearm, forgery of a government seal and identity theft of Pfizer, CVS and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. He is also charged with creating a false medical record, a misdemeanor.
KCRA-TV reported that “while real cards are easy to fake, Ginger Manss, with the Community Medical Centers (CMC) said actual data is not so easy to hack.”
Manss, the CMC’s chief nursing officer, told the outlet, “It’s not just the card, there’s backup documentation that coincides, and if you can’t prove that, that card doesn’t help you at all.”