Calif. Bar Owner Arrested for Allegedly Selling Fake COVID Vaccination Cards
The cards were allegedly selling for $20 each
Authorities arrested the owner of a Northern California saloon on Tuesday, alleging he was selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards to his customers.
After receiving a tip that phony vaccination cards were being sold at the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control — posing as potential buyers — entered the bar on numerous occasions in April, and "were able to purchase the fraudulent cards," according to a press release from the ABC.
On Tuesday, the bar's owner, Todd Anderson, was led away from his business in handcuffs.
Anderson was allegedly charging $20 for the fake vaccinations cards.
Anderson was charged with felony identity theft and forging government documents, as well as misdemeanor falsifying medical records.
At the time of his arrest, Anderson, 59, also allegedly had a loaded unregistered firearm — a felony under California law.
The ABC press release alleges a search of the bar turned up materials "related to the distribution of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards."
The agents are also said to be investigating one of Anderson's employees for allegedly selling the faked vaccination cards.
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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," said San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar in the statement.
"Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you," she continued. "The San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office is grateful for the partnership with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for their work in this case."
The ABC will also be filing disciplinary action against the business, the press release says, including the potential suspension or revocation of the bar's liquor license.
Anderson has yet to enter pleas to the charges he faces.
Neither he, nor a lawyer for his business, could be reached for comment Thursday.