In the year 2022, people around the United States are still getting caught for allegedly making and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. One U.S. postal worker printed “fakessssss,” crediting her graphic design degree and a post office printer. Another person teamed up with someone who was allegedly “a private contractor in the defense industry and had Top Secret security clearance” to print vaccine cards he called “gold” and “fucking beautiful.”
Police officers arrested these alleged vaccine card scammers this week, though they haven’t yet been charged. Their schemes were as bumbling as they were successful.
According to the arresting documents, Robert Van Camp, a man from Parker, Washington who was arrested Tuesday, and his well-connected partner were able to get their hands on a blank COVID-19 CDC vaccine card. The two then printed off massive amounts of the cards; they would not just sell them but also fill them out as legitimately as possible with customers' personal information and nearby vaccine center details.
Van Camp sold unfilled cards for “$17 to $20” a pop, and a filled-out card cost upwards of $170. He was also loose-lipped about who he was selling them to: “I’ve got people that are going to the Olympics in Tokyo, three Olympians and their coach in Tokyo, Amsterdam, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Honduras,” Van Camp allegedly told an undercover officer. “I’ve got a company, a veterinary company, has 30 people going to Canada (and back) every fucking day.”
According to the court documents, Van Camp sold the fake vaccine cards to at least four undercover officers.
“How are you guys doing that whole vaccine bullshit?” Van Camp allegedly said to an undercover officer. "I kinda have a hookup on the real, real 'V' card, you know what I'm saying?”
Van Camp also sold cards to federal employees, authorities allege.
Two separate witnesses told authorities that Van Camp apparently didn’t try to hide the cards and would just walk around with a “two-inch stack” of them. He also allegedly told people that “he had inside knowledge about COVID-19 vaccination record cards because [his partner] had a security clearance.”
The two kept files of the names of their clients and how many cards they bought. If the two weren’t paid outright in cash, they accepted Venmo payments, some of which included comments referring to "Dr. Flouci" of "freedom.”
Social media profiles that are linked to Van Camp show him as a die-hard Trump supporter who, at one point, posed naked in front of a fireplace with just a Trump flag covering his body.
Van Camp reportedly knew his illicit business may not last long. “I’m in 12 or 13 states, so until I get caught and go to jail, fuck it, I’m taking the money!” Van Camp reportedly told an undercover officer. “I don’t care, I’ve saved a thousand lives.”
Van Camp did not respond immediately to a request for comment from VICE News.
Meanwhile, Lisa Hammell, a postal worker in New Jersey who police allege sold up to “ 400 fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination record cards to buyers in New Jersey and throughout the United States,” was also arrested on Tuesday.
"Making fakessssss,” Hammell apparently told her friend. “Graphic design degree paying off.”
As a UPS employee, Hammell had access to a post office printer and used that to bring her designs to life. She advertised on social media and described card purchases as “movie tickets” or something similar for security. Customers would then make the payments in incremental amounts.
According to texts included in her criminal complaint, Hammell seemingly had little trust for the government who, she reportedly said, should “suck a [expletive]” and little respect for vaccinated people whom she deemed “sheep.”
The arresting documents state that both Hammell and Van Camp made thousands of dollars from their schemes.
These two cases were first spotted by Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who shared them with VICE News.
Despite the alleged efforts and apparent beliefs of Van Camp and Hammell, the COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be widely effective and safe. Since the onset of the pandemic, millions of people have been killed by COVID-19 worldwide, with almost a million of the dead coming from the U.S. alone. The vaccine and COVID-19 health measures helped offset those deaths significantly.
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