CLEMENTS, Calif. (KTXL) — The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says they arrested the owner of a Northern California bar for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
ABC says they were first tipped off by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office about the creation of fake vaccination cards weeks ago.
In April, undercover agents went to the Old Corner Saloon in Clements and said they were able to buy the fake laminated vaccination cards on several occasions, purchasing them for $20 each.
ABC says the owner, Todd Anderson, was caught red-handed during a raid Tuesday.
“He was in possession of a number of other unfilled out COVID-19 vaccination cards, a laminating machine, laminate and several other cards that were finished. And it appears that they were waiting to be given to people,” said Luke Blehm with ABC.
Investigators say they saw others buy cards too, adding that Anderson also had an unregistered firearm on him at the time of his arrest.
Blehm says the vaccination card crimes here may be a first of its kind.
“That we know of, this is the only case that’s ever been done — even nationwide possibly,” he told FOX40. “We did some research to try to find similars. They may be out there, but we just don’t know and haven’t seen them.”
ABC says they have written up a criminal complaint against another employee at the bar, but it is up to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office whether to charge that person.
The bar will remain open but FOX40 has been told their license could be revoked as the investigation continues.
The FBI issued a warning in April that it is illegal to sell or buy fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards after fake vaccination cards began popping up for sale online.
“It’s a federal crime here in the US. It’s also fraud and could be charged under forgery,” said Don Vilfer, the president of Digital Evidence Ventures and former FBI agent.