Bar owner arrested for fake vaccination cards

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California bar owner arrested for allegedly selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards. (Photo: California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control)

SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) — The owner of a Northern California bar was arrested on suspicion of selling made-to-order fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to several undercover state agents for $20 each in what officials said Friday is the first such foiled operation they are aware of nationwide.

The plainclothes agents from California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control were told to write their names and birthdates on Post-it notes. They say bar employees cut the cards, filled out the identifying information and bogus vaccination dates, then laminated the finished product.

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Vaccination cards are being used in some places as a pass for people to attend large gatherings. The European Union is considering allowing in tourists who can prove they have been vaccinated.

Acting on an an anonymous tip from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office, four undercover agents went to Old Corner Saloon in the town of Clements several times in April and bought four fake laminated vaccination cards, officials said.

They returned to the small-town bar this week and arrested the bar’s owner. Agents say they found another two completed cards and 30 additional blank cards along with a laminator and cutting device.

It wasn’t immediately known if the bar owner, Todd Anderson, has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. No one answered the phone at the bar Friday.