U.S. Attorney: 'It’s very dangerous activity' 2 charged in schemes to sell fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards in metro Detroit

Posted at 12:34 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 02:13:48-04

(WXYZ) — Two people from metro Detroit have been charged in separate COVID-19 vaccination card frauds.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan announced the charges on Tuesday.

In one case, 37-year-old Bethann Kierczak, from Southgate, allegedly stole authentic COVID-19 vaccine cards from the VA hospital.

According to a federal complaint, Kierczak is a nurse and took the cards from the VA hospital, along with vaccine lot numbers to make the cards appear legitimate.

The complaint alleges that Kierczak started stealing the cards in early May and was selling them for $150-$200 through Facebook Messenger.

In the second case, 32-year-old Raphael Jarrell Smiley of Detroit allegedly imported and sold fake COVID-19 vaccine cards.

He allegedly ordered the cards from China and advertised the cards for sale on Facebook and Instagram.

“These arrests reflect our deep commitment to protecting the health of our community and preventing this dangerous fraud from affecting our most vulnerable citizens,” Acting US Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a release. “Regardless of whether an individual choses to get vaccinated, we urge everyone to avoid turning to schemes like these to evade vaccination requirements. Importing these cards is a crime. Selling these cards is a crime. We will continue to investigate these crimes and prosecute them accordingly.”

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.