(UnitedVoice.com) – Fraudsters struck gold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data revealed Americans have lost more than $588 million to coronavirus-related scams since January 1, 2020. Recently, a Maryland man pleaded guilty to running a terrible COVID-19 scheme to defraud people.
In February, the DOJ announced the arrests of three Baltimore-area men who were accused of creating a fake Moderna website to sell COVID-19 vaccines. Federal prosecutors said the website, “Modernatx.shop,” looked just like the legitimate company website, even displaying trademarked logos. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents contacted the website to try to buy vaccines. The men sent an invoice for 200 Moderna vaccines for $30 each or a total of $6,000.
Maryland man pleads guilty to operating fake Moderna website, charging people to buy advance vaccines https://t.co/6avv7ti8i8
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 1, 2021
On October 29, the DOJ revealed one of the men, Odunayo “Baba” Oluwalade, 25, pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud conspiracy. He admitted he tried to access a bank account used in the scheme, saying he knew what it was being used for, but said he didn’t know the specifics. He faces up to 20 years in prison; the judge hasn’t set a sentencing date yet.
It’s important for consumers to be very careful while browsing the internet. Vaccines are not available to buy online. Contact your local health department about COVID-19 vaccines. If you believe you’ve been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, contact the DOJ’s National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721.
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