A Maryland man has been charged with mail fraud and obstruction of justice after allegedly ordering and selling hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, according to the Department of Justice.
Amar Salim Shabazz, 23, of Owings Mills, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
According to court documents obtained by The Epoch Times, Shabazz utilized a Chinese online marketplace to order more than 600 of the fake cards, some of which contained misspelled words such as “COVD” instead of COVID-19.
Shabazz promoted the cards on his Instagram and Facebook accounts, asking $75 each and encouraging interested individuals to message him.
Shabazz indicated the racket was going well. On Aug. 6, he posted on Facebook that he had just 17 cards left.
“They’re going like hot cakes,” he wrote, adding four days later that he was out until the following week.
“I’m gonna be rich,” Shabazz told a connection on Instagram.
A fresh shipment authorities say was ordered by the Maryland man and originated in Hong Kong was seized by customs officers at a DHL shipping company facility in Kentucky. Officers found 503 fake vaccination cards and indicated online there was a hold on the package.
Shabazz went online the same day and searched for “customs inspection packages VACCINATION cards” and watched videos about fake vaccination cards being found.
“[Expletive] [expletive] u.s. customs yo,” he wrote on Facebook. “Hope my [expletive] make it thru man.”
A caller authorities believe was Shabazz called DHL inquiring about the package.
Law enforcement officers replaced the cards with boxes of masks and placed the package outside the front door of Shabazz’s residence. In a video posted to Instagram the next day, Shabazz filmed himself opening up the box, telling viewers, “Look yo, I got masks yo. No [expletive] cards.”
Soon after, Shabazz is accused of going back to the Chinese marketplace and ordering more of the cards. He appeared to receive the package and started promoting their sale on his social media accounts.
Authorities got in touch with a woman who bought a card from Shabazz by communicating with him over Instagram and paying him with CashApp. Records from the services provided evidence of the sale.
Other customers were also interviewed.
Search warrants were executed on Shabazz’s residence in late September and authorities found fake cards inside Shabazz’s Lexus and receipts for UPS shipping costs related to shipments to several individuals identified as having received the papers.
“The feds kicked in my door on Friday I might be going to jail soon hopefully not,” Shabazz messaged an unnamed person on Instagram.
Shabazz was charged on Dec. 3, arraigned, and released pending trial.
A public defender representing him declined to comment.