Stack of vaccination records against COVID-19 from the CDC.
Ben Guests MediaNews Group Getty Images
A U.S. Marine Corps reservist from New York City who was previously arrested on charges of involvement in riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6 has been charged with a new conspiracy case to sell fake Covid-19 vaccination cards to reserve colleagues, prosecutors said Thursday.
The reservist, a 26-year-old Queens resident Jia Liu, is accused of conspiring with a 27-year-old nurse named Stephen Rodriguez to trick the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services into distributing fake cards, U.S. District Court prosecutors say. in Brooklyn.
Liu is separately accused of providing these cards to Marine reservists, thereby deceiving the Ministry of Defense.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defense ordered to vaccinate all active and reserve servicemen from Kovid from August to January.
The alleged distribution of Liu’s fake cards to other Marina reservists helped them avoid this requirement, prosecutors said.
“By deliberately distributing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards to the unvaccinated, the defendants put the military and other communities at risk of contracting the virus, which has already claimed nearly a million lives in the country,” said U.S. Attorney General Breon Pease.
“This office continues to seek to eradicate and harass those individuals who threaten our health and safety for profit.”
Prosecutors said the scheme led to the distribution of more than 300 stolen or fake vaccine cards and created more than 70 fake entries in immunization databases.
This allowed “unvaccinated individuals to receive an Excelsior Pass, which displays the vaccination status of the user in a digital application,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The scheme allegedly operated from March 2021 to this month.
Prosecutors said Liu and Rodriguez, who worked at a Long Island clinic, “promoted their scheme through messages in encrypted messaging programs and on social media.”
They referred to vaccination cards against COVID-19, using code names such as “gift cards”, “Cardi Bs”, “Christmas cards” and “Pokemon cards”.
Court documents say Lynn bought blank vaccine cards from Rodriguez and then forged and distributed them to buyers and other conspirators for profit.
Liu also told buyers to meet with Rodriguez in person at the clinic where he works to buy fraudulent cards, the documents said.
“Rodriguez met with the buyer, but instead of introducing the vaccine, he destroyed the vial with the vaccine intended to vaccinate the patient,” prosecutors said.
“He then provided the buyer with a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, which he filled out to falsely pretend that the buyer had received a dose of the vaccine. He also made entries in immunization databases, falsely indicating that the buyer had been vaccinated. ”
In October, the Washington federal prosecutor’s office accused Liu of entering the Capitol during the January 6, 2021 riots and other crimes related to the invasion of the congressional hall that day by a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump.