Chicago Pharmacist Faces Prison After Selling Over 100 COVID Vaccine Cards on eBay

A Chicago pharmacist is currently facing 10 years in prison after he was caught selling COVID-19 vaccine cards on eBay.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, the man was identified as 34-year-old Tangtang Zhao, who was a licensed pharmacist at an unidentified pharmacy in Chicago.

The pharmacy that Zhao worked at administered COVID-19 vaccines and provided recipients with cards to prove they have been inoculated.

"Zhao, who worked at Company 1 as a pharmacist during that time, obtained and subsequently offered authentic CDC vaccination cards for sale online," the press release said.

According to an indictment, Zhao sold the COVID-19 vaccine cards online from March to April to 11 different buyers. The indictment shows that Zhao sold the COVID-19 vaccine cards on 12 different occasions for around $10 each, totaling over $1,000.

The press release says that Zhao has been charged with 12 counts of theft of government property and if convicted "he faces a sentence of 10 years in prison per count."

Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI's Chicago Field Office said in the press release that "Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death."

"To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences," he continued.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, made similar comments, saying, "We take seriously, and will vigorously investigate, any criminal offense that contributes to the distrust around vaccines and vaccination status...The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from these offenses during this national emergency."

Newsweek reached out to the Department of Justice for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

This is not the first time an individual has been caught selling COVID-19 vaccine cards. In July, the Justice Department announced that a licensed naturopathic doctor in California was arrested after allegedly selling "homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets" which she claimed made people immune to the novel coronavirus. She then provided her patients with fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards.

Similarly, in May, the San Joaquin County district attorney announced that a man was arrested after he was found selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards from his business.

"Undercover agents were able to purchase the fraudulent cards at Old Corner Saloon on multiple occasions in April," the San Joaquin County district attorney's office said in a press release in May.

COVID-19 Vaccine
A pharmacist in Chicago was recently arrested after selling COVID-19 vaccine cards on eBay. Above, a healthcare worker fills out a COVID-19 vaccination card in Los Angeles, August 11, 2021. Robyn Beck/Getty