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On June 9, Steven Rodriguez, a former nurse from Long Beach, New York, was sentenced in federal court to 2-1/2 years in prison for selling at least 300 fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Rodriguez and a co-conspirator from Queens, Jia Liu, had pleaded guilty to the scam. Liu will be sentenced in September.

To cover up that the recipients of the cards didn’t actually receive the vaccine, Rodriguez made false entries in an official vaccination database and destroyed vaccine vials. He received at least $15,000 for selling the cards from March 2021 until his arrest in February 2022. The cards were sold through encrypted messaging apps and on social media under code names like “gift cards,” “Christmas cards,” “Cardi Bs,” and “Pokemon cards.”

Liu is also due to be sentenced this month on misdemeanor charges of entering the U.S. Capitol during the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

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