A worker at a COVID-19 vaccination site is accused of stealing more than 500 blank vaccine cards, police say.
The suspect worked as a non-clinical contract worker at the Pomona Fairplex, California, mass vaccine site, which administers nearly 4,000 vaccinations a day.
Muhammad Rauf Ahmed, 45, was charged with one felony count of grand theft after he allegedly stole 528 cards, according to the La Verne Police Department.
Detectives determined Ahmed stole blank COVID-19 vaccine cards and put them in his car. While conducting a follow-up, detectives located more blank cards in the suspect’s hotel room.
“Selling fraudulent and stolen vaccine cards is illegal, immoral and puts the public at risk of exposure to a deadly virus,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a written statement obtained by KXAN.
Prosecutors said that each COVID-19 vaccination card sold illegally has a value of at least $15, according to KXAN.
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta has warned residents not to print fake vaccination record cards at home and not to buy counterfeits, KXAN reported.
“These counterfeit records undermine the health and safety of Californians and are also illegal,” Bonta said in a consumer alert warning. “I advise you to get your COVID-19 vaccination and the authentic vaccination record that reflects you were vaccinated. Please do not purchase a fraudulent record, do not make your own, and do not fill in blank vaccination record cards with false information.”
Vaccines and vaccination cards are offered at no cost, and anyone 12 and older who is now eligible to get the vaccine in California.