Officials: 2 arrested in separate COVID-19 card fraud cases

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FILE: A vaccination record card is shown during a COVID-19 vaccination drive for Spring Branch Independent School District education workers Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Houston. School employees who registered were given the Pfizer vaccine.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

DETROIT (AP) — A registered nurse from southeastern Michigan has been arrested Wednesday in the theft of COVID-19 vaccination record cards from a Veteran’s Administration hospital.

Vaccine lot numbers also were stolen to make the cards appear legitimate before they were sold for $150 to $200 each, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit.

Bethann Kierczak, 37, of Southgate was charged in a federal complaint with theft of government property and theft or embezzlement related to a health care benefit program.

The thefts began at least as early as May. Buyers primarily were found over social media.

A second Detroit-area resident also was arrested Wednesday in a scheme involving the sale or distribution of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Rapheal Smiley, 32, of Detroit was charged with fraud involving department or agency seals, identity document fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, authorities said.

The fake cards allegedly were imported from China and advertised for sale over social media.

“Regardless of whether an individual chooses to get vaccinated, we urge everyone to avoid turning to schemes like these to evade vaccination requirements,” acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a release. “Importing these cards is a crime. Selling these cards is a crime.”

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