Chicago pharmacist selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards could spend 10 years in federal prison

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Customer in pharmacy holding medicine bottle. Woman reading the label text about medical information or side effects in drug store. Patient shopping pills for migraine or flu. Vitamin or zinc tablets.

A Chicago pharmacist was arrested Tuesday for allegedly selling COVID-19 vaccination cards online.

Federal agents arrested pharmacist Tangtang Zhao on Tuesday, alleging he sold 125 authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards on eBay, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. Zhao sold the cards to 11 different buyers for around $10 a card, according to the DOJ.

“Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death,” FBI special agent Emmerson Buie Jr. said in the announcement. “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.”

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Zhao was indicted on 12 counts of theft of government property. Zhao allegedly stole the cards from his workplace, a pharmacy which administered COVID-19 vaccines.


Zhao made his first appearance in court Tuesday, and faces up to 10 years in federal prison per count, according to the DOJ.

“Stealing and selling COVID-19 vaccination cards is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” Lamont Pugh, special agent of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), said in the announcement. “Fraudsters who engage in such unlawful conduct undermine efforts to address the pandemic and profit at the public’s expense.”

The FBI issued warnings in April against making or selling fake CDC vaccination cards, saying those who create or purchase the forgeries could face up to five years in prison. Counterfeit vaccination cards have been found on Amazon, Etsy, and other online marketplaces.

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The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for additional comment.


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Authorities Arrest Chicago Pharmacist For Selling Vaccine Cards. He Could Face Decades In Prison

Ailan Evans on August 17, 2021