May 6, 2021 -- A bar owner in California was arrested after being accused of making and selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, according to ABC News.
Todd Anderson, 59, owner of the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, was arrested on Wednesday by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and charged with falsifying a medical record, falsifying an official government seal, and several counts of identity theft.
“It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic,” Tori Verber Salazar, the district attorney for San Joaquin County, said in a statement.
“Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you,” she said.
The California agency received a tip that Anderson was making and selling the cards at his bar and began an undercover investigation. Agents purchased cards at the bar on “multiple occasions” in April, the department said.
The agency found that Anderson was selling cards for $20 apiece. He sold at least eight cards before the undercover agents shut down the operation, ABC News reported. Under a search warrant, agents confiscated a laminating machine and 30 blank cards, as well as a loaded, unregistered firearm, which is a felony.
The agency will file disciplinary action against the business, which could include suspension or revocation of the bar’s alcohol license. Investigators are also seeking a criminal complaint against one of Anderson’s employees, who may have been involved in the operation.
In March, the FBI issued a warning about potential fraudulent vaccination cards, which have been advertised on social media sites and e-commerce platforms this year.
Those who make or use fake vaccine cards can be charged with falsifying a medical record or unauthorized use of an official government agency seal, such as the CDC logo.
“By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19,” the agency said.