- The Justice Department has indicted 21 people in connection with alleged COVID-19 fraud schemes.
- Prosecutors said one man told undercover agents that he sold fake vaccination cards to Olympic athletes.
- The man repeatedly bragged about the quality of his cards, which bore the CDC logo, prosecutors say.
Going on sale in September 2021, Robert Van Camp couldn’t help but admire his handiwork: fake COVID-19 vaccination cards made with “real paper” and featuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo.
“Pretty cool, huh? I call them works of art,” Van Camp told his buyer — an undercover federal agent — according to court records.
Van Camp claimed to have sold it to Olympic athletes. “And like I said, I’m in 12 or 13 states, so until I get caught and go to jail, fuck it. I’ll take the money!” he added, with a laugh. “I dont care.”
That time has come for Van Camp. On Tuesday, the 53-year-old Colorado businessman was arrested on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States and traffic counterfeit goods, becoming one of 21 people charged last week with fraud linked to COVID-19.
The Justice Department noted Van Camp’s case on Wednesday as it announced a set of COVID-related fraud lawsuits against doctors, marketers, and medical business owners, among others. The cases involve more than $149 million in allegedly false charges for federal programs and theft from federal pandemic assistance programs, the Justice Department said.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, confirmed by the Senate, said the coordinated enforcement action “reinforces our commitment to using all available tools to hold medical professionals, corporate executives and others who have put the greed over care during an unprecedented public health emergency.”
In another case, the Justice Department accused a New Jersey woman, Lisa Hammell, of selling at least 400 fraudulent vaccination cards to unvaccinated people while working at the postal service. In federal court in California, a Texas man was accused of offering fake cures for COVID-19 and distributing fake vaccination cards.
In Van Camp’s case, federal prosecutors alleged that he sold fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to at least four undercover agents after obtaining an electronic copy of a blank card. Prosecutors said Van Camp ran the scheme with a co-conspirator – not identified in court records – who had a top-secret security clearance.
To hide his scheme, prosecutors said, Van Camp referred to the cards by codenames — such as “gift card” and “restaurant gift card” — and urged shoppers to do the same. Van Camp made thousands of dollars from the scheme, according to prosecutors, and sent fake vaccination cards in early April to an undercover agent who asked for “gift cards.”
In the course of the investigation, federal agents rummaged through Van Camp’s trash and discovered a list of buyers. Van Camp’s clients included federal employees who needed to be vaccinated against COVID-19, prosecutors said.
With a second undercover agent, prosecutors said, Van Camp claimed his fake vaccination cards “went to the Olympics, Honduras, Costa Rice, Canada, France, Turks and Caicos, twelve different states, so my cards are fucking all over the place.” world.
“I mean, these things are gold,” he said, according to the complaint. In total, Van Camp sold hundreds of cards, some for $175 each.
Justice Department officials declined to comment on whether prosecutors found that Van Camp sold to athletes who participated in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
In court documents, prosecutors cited statements in which Van Camp expressed frustration with vaccination requirements and framed his work as “good versus evil.”
“I’m not making cards because I’m bored, I’m making cards because I’m in the middle of a fucking war and I, and I have a lot of guns and ammo, like an arsenal,” he said. he told one of the undercover agents, according to court documents.
Van Camp could not immediately be reached for comment. He is due to make a first court appearance in Seattle on May 10th.