California saloon owner charged for selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

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Bethesda, MD, USA 03-22-2021: a COVID 19 vaccination record card on a wooden desk. The card details the date, type and the dose number of administred vaccine and given to every person for record.

STOCKTON, CA – A Stockton bar owner was busted for selling people fake COVID-19 vaccination cards this week. The cards are a simple piece of paper card stock, easily replicated with no security measures commonly seen on other critical documents.

It is a document anyone with a laser printer can reproduce.

District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that Agents of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have arrested the owner of the Old Corner Saloon in Clements on charges of selling fraudulent COVID -19 vaccination cards.

ABC opened an investigation after receiving a complaint that fraudulent cards were being sold at the bar located at 18783 East California Highway 88 in Clements. Undercover agents were able to purchase the fraudulent cards at Old Corner Saloon on multiple occasions in April. As a result, agents arrested the owner of the business for selling the fraudulent cards, which is a violation of the California Penal Code. During the arrest, the owner was also found to be in possession of a loaded unregistered firearm, which is a felony. ABC will also be seeking a criminal complaint on another employee of the business. With assistance from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, agents also executed a search warrant at the premises and recovered materials related to the distribution of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards. Charges against the owner include identity theft, forging government documents, and falsifying medical records. 

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“It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic. Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you,” said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar. “The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is grateful for the partnership with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case.” 

Additionally, ABC will file disciplinary action against the business. Disciplinary action can include a suspension or revocation of the ABC license. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently published a public service announcement warning the public that selling fake vaccination cards with a government logo on them is a crime.

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