DETROIT – Raphael Jarrel Smiley, 32, and Beth Ann Kierczak, 37, are facing a slew of charges in connection with creating fake COVID vaccination cards and selling them to the public in two separate cases.
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force back in May. These are some of the first suspects that have been arrested so far.
The multi-page complaint states Smiley, from Detroit, ordered bogus vaccination cards from two shipping companies in China and sold them on his Facebook and Instagram accounts. He allegedly uploaded meme-type photos to entice people to buy the cards for $150 to $200 each.
“This is very dangerous activity. It’s criminal activity. It’s fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin.
Kierczak is a Southgate nurse at a local VA hospital was getting her hands on real cards, going above and beyond to make the cards appear as legit as possible.
“She’s alleged to be providing, not just these cards for profit of $100-$150 per card. She’s providing lot numbers and information that corresponds to those lot numbers to make them appear to be authentic,” Mohsin said.
Not only is selling fake vaccine cards a crime, but people can also be arrested for buying them as well.
“You’re committing a fraud. And so there’s a lot of different things that you could be charged with,” Mohsin said.
Both suspects appeared before a judge in federal court.
An investigation continues as more could be charged in the future.