Utah Plastic Surgeon and 3 Others Allegedly Sold $97,000 Worth of Fake COVID Vaccination Cards
The group destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of vaccines, officials say.
A plastic surgeon in Utah and three other people have been charged with selling fake COVID vaccination records and nearly $97,000 of fake CDC vaccination cards at $50 apiece, the Department of Justice said. The group then allegedly destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of COVID-19 vaccines, ABC News reports.
Dr. Michael Kirk Moore Jr., 58, of Plastic Surgery Institute of Utah, faces a number of charges, along with his neighbor Kristin Jackson Andersen, 59; surgical coordinator Kari Dee Burgoyne, 52; and receptionist Sandra Flores, 31. Read on to find out more about the case, and what prosecutors are seeking for a penalty.
The DOJ alleges that Moore and the others destroyed about $28,000 of government-provided COVID-19 vaccine doses, ABC News reported. Usually, they emptied syringes containing vaccine into sinks, court documents said. According to court documents, Moore and his co-defendants ran a scheme to defraud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States.
Moore and Andersen were members of a group that aimed to "liberate the medical profession from government and industry conflicts of interest," the documents said.
The group also provided at least 1,900 falsified vaccine record cards in exchange for $50 cash payments or "donations to a specified charitable organization," the Justice Department said. That organization was linked to the group Moore and Andersen were involved with, court documents say.
According to reports, Moore would then skip giving the shot, or he would administer a shot of saline, leaving children believing they were vaccinated and entering the vaccination into the statewide database.
Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Curt L. Muller vowed law enforcement would hold people who try to illegally profit from the pandemic accountable in a statement included in the DOJ release.
"By allegedly falsifying vaccine cards and administering saline shots to children instead of COVID-19 vaccines, not only did this provider endanger the health and well-being of a vulnerable population, but also undermined public trust and the integrity of federal health care programs," said Muller.
Reached by phone by the New York Times on Tuesday, a man who identified himself as Dr. Moore hung up. Burgoyne, Flores and Andersen have not commented either. The complete list of charges the defendants are facing includes conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to convert, sell, convey, and dispose of government property; and conversion, sale, conveyance, and disposal of government property and aiding and abetting.
Federal prosecutors want Moore and his associates to forfeit the remaining vaccine cards and vaccine doses in their possession and pay $125,000 in fines. The New York Times points out that in the last three years, dozens of people have been prosecuted for Covid-19 vaccine fraud. Two nurses on Long Island were charged with forgery in January 2022 after earning more than $1.5 million from sales of falsified proofs of vaccination, and a New Jersey mother was accused last August of selling more than 250 fake vaccine cards via Instagram.