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A pharmacist in Chicago was arrested on Tuesday after it was discovered he was allegedly selling real COVID-19 vaccination cards on the internet.
According to a press release from the Justice Department, 34-year-old Tangtang Zhao was a licensed pharmacist who was indicted on 12 counts of theft of government property after investigations found that he allegedly sold 125 COVID-19 vaccination cards from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to 11 different buyers. Zhao allegedly was selling the cards for about $10 each in March and April. Along with one client who bought 17 cards from him, it’s being reported that Zhao made over $1,200 during the time he was selling the cards.
Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. with the FBI’s Chicago Field Office said Zhao’s actions put the American public at risk in the aforementioned release.
“Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death,” he said. “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.”
According to CNN, US Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Finnegan told Zhao that he will have to tell his employer that he was indicted for selling the cards. Zhao’s attorney, Gal Pissetzky, made a not guilty plea to the court, saying that his client will “certainly be fired if he discloses the charges to his employer.”
“Certainly, unfortunately, Mr. Zhao will lose his employment and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to gain new employment because he is a pharmacist,” Pissetzky said, to which the judge replied, “He might be able to do some other kind of work.”
Zhao could be facing 10 years in prison for this crime. He was released from jail on a $4,500 unsecured bond and was given seven days to inform his employer of the indictment.