A Marine Reservist currently facing charges of storming the US Capitol on January 6 has been named in an indictment accusing him and a nurse of making and selling Covid vaccination cards. fake.
Federal prosecutors say that Steven Rodriguez27 years old, a nurse at a health care clinic on Long Island, and Jia LiuThe 26-year-old, member of the US Marine Corps Reserve, conspired to create and distribute fake cards showing that a person had been vaccinated against COVID-19 when they had not.
The indictment by the Eastern District Court of New York was sealed on Thursday. It did not identify the healthcare clinic where Rodriguez was a nurse, but said that the clinic’s name was known by the grand jury.
Prosecutors say that between March 2021 and February 2022, Rodriguez and Liu managed to put at least 300 fake cards into circulation through a multi-step plan that included destroying the actual vials of the vaccine. , appointments at a genuine COVID-19 clinic that provide legal care and vaccinations and cards, and codenames for pop stars and Pokemon.
Liu and Rodriguez are also accused of creating more than 70 false entries in New York City and state immunization databases.
Rodriguez and Liu were charged with conspiracy to forge government documents and conspiracy to defraud the US Department of Health and Human Services. Liu is also charged with conspiring to defraud the US Department of Defense, for allegedly creating and distributing fake vaccine cards to Marine Corps reservists to help them meet DOD vaccine requirements.
Prosecutors described Rodriguez and Liu’s plan:
“In order to facilitate the creation of false entries in the Immunization Database, RODRIGUEZ and LIU directed Buyers to make a genuine appointment at the Healthcare Clinic to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. When Buyer visited the Healthcare Clinic, RODRIGUEZ met Buyer but did not administer the vaccine. Instead, RODRIGUEZ (a) destroyed a vial of the vaccine used to immunize the patient; (b) provided a forged COVID-19 Immunization Card which he filled out to falsify that Buyer received a dose of vaccine which RODRIGUEZ was in fact destroyed; and (c) make entries in the Immunization Database that falsely indicate that Buyer has been vaccinated. These steps allow Buyer to misrepresent himself as vaccinated. RODRIGUEZ and LIU charged a premium for the creation of these false Immunization Database entries. ”
Rodriguez and Liu allegedly solicited customers through encrypted messaging apps and social networks. They refer to the fake cards with codenames including “gift cards”, “Christmas cards”, “Cardi B” and “Pokemon cards”.
Prosecutors allege that they also offered multiple options for fake cards. Customers can choose either a blank COVID-19 vaccination card or a card that has been filled out with the name, date of birth, date, location and batch number of the COVID-19 vaccine they falsely claim received.
Rodriguez and Liu also suggest that unvaccinated buyers enter the wrong New York City and state immunization databases, allowing them to obtain the state’s Excelsior Card, which some businesses and locations use. certain to rely on it as evidence for vaccination.
The fraud charges against Liu and Rodriguez carry a sentence of 10 years in prison.
If the charges are true, Liu may have violated the first condition of his pre-trial release in another case — the federal government’s pending charges against him related to the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, when the score of Donald Trump supporters overwhelmed the police and stormed the building, temporarily preventing Congress from certifying Joe Bidenwon the 2020 presidential election.
According to federal prosecutors, Liu is accused of climbing through a broken window to break into the Capitol building. He has not been charged with any further acts of violence.
Liu was arrested in late October and charged with four counts of disorderly conduct in what is known as a “standard misdemeanor” in the January 6 case. He was released on a personal recognition bond in November, and according to court documents, Liu is prohibited from violating federal, state or local law upon his release.
Court records show that the next hearing in Liu’s January 6 case is set for Friday.
Read the indictment against Rodriguez and Liu, below.
Adam Klasfeld contributed to this report.
[Images via FBI court filings.]
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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/new-york-marine-reservist-charged-in-jan-6-capitol-riot-also-helped-lead-illegal-vaccine-card-scheme-feds/ Jia Liu, Steven Rodriguez charged in batch of fake vaccine cards