A Utah surgeon, two of his staffers and his neighbor are facing federal charges amid allegations they ran a scheme to destroy hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccines and gave minor children saline shots, tricking them into believing they received a COVID-19 vaccine.
At the request of parents, saline shots were administered to children, “so that the minor children would think they were actually receiving a COVID-19 vaccine,” the court document states.
Federal prosecutors are also alleging the group sought to “liberate” the medical profession from government conflicts of interests and accepted payments or required “donations” to charitable organizations in exchange for vaccine cards when no shot was administered.
According to the legal filing, Dr. Michael Moore Jr. and Kari Burgoyne charged $50 per person for fake vaccine cards, stating they ran the program on a referral basis accepting “fraudulent tax card seekers” only through others who had already received one from the medical facility.
The pair also uploaded the names of individuals who received fake vaccine cards to a statewide government database that tracked immunization records. Prosecutors say the doctor’s office lied about administering at least 1,937 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while also destroying more than $28,000 worth of COVID-19 vaccines.
Utah officials have considered the practice of producing or selling fake vaccine cards seriously, even enlisting the help of Big Tech companies to aid in efforts to stop the dissemination of fake vaccination records.
“It’s sad but not surprising that fraudsters continue to take advantage of people during the Pandemic, but we’re fighting back to protect Utahns,” Utah Attorney General Reyes wrote in a letter to Twitter, eBay, and Shopify, in April 2021. “Some of these fraudsters we can investigate but many use tactics that evade prosecution. So, we’re asking social media platforms to help us crack down on ads and promotions designed to exploit vulnerable citizens.”
The medical practice was caught by an undercover agent who was instructed to use Venmo or PayPal to make a payment for a fake vaccine card and to send the office a screenshot of the receipt.