According to ABC News, one woman and two men were charged by the Justice Department for making a fake COVID-19 vaccine website.
Olakitan Oluwalade, Odunayo Baba Oluwalad, and Kelly Lamont Williams fraudulently replicated Moderna’s website in an attempt to sell the company’s vaccine, an unsealed affidavit stated.
All three have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and each faces up to 20 years behind bars.
The affidavit also claims that the trio’s fake website offered people the chance to buy the vaccine.
“YOU MAY BE ABLE TO BUY A COVID-19 VACCINE AHEAD OF TIME,” the website said.
Callers calling the phone number listed on the fake webpage were redirected to an encrypted messaging system that would ask for their email address.
The scammers were charging $6,000 for 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine at $30 a dose, court documents allege.
An agent from the Department of Homeland Security’s investigative unit helped uncover the scheme. The group was busted after an undercover agent was asked to transfer funds to an account associated with Williams.
“As the public seeks vaccines to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19, fraudsters are waiting to take advantage of their desperation. We want to remind the public to exercise extreme caution online, especially when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and protective equipment,” special agent in charge, James R. Mancuso, of HSI Baltimore, said.
The scam wasn’t very well thought out because there is no way to buy the vaccine. Every state has a process in which it can supply doses to the public.