OWINGS MILLS, Md. — 23-year-old Amar Shabazz of Owings Mills, Maryland, is now facing federal charges after allegedly selling hundreds of fake vaccine cards through the mail.
According to the criminal complaint, Shabazz purchased more than 600 fake COVID-19 vaccination cards through a foreign online marketplace and had the cards illegally shipped into the United States. Once Shabazz received the fake vaccination cards, he then advertised them for sale on several popular social media platforms and distributed them through the United Parcel Service (UPS), the complaint stated.
It continued to detail that, on June 10, 2021, Shabazz allegedly searched the phrase “fake covid vaccination record card” and viewed a video titled, “Scammers Work to Sell Fake Covid Vaccination Cards Online.” Days later, Shabazz placed an order with the foreign website for the cards to be shipped.
One month later, Shabazz allegedly posted a video of multiple fake vaccination cards on two of his social media accounts with the caption “Covid19 vaccination card who want one. $75 a pop.”
Over the next month, Shabazz continued to take to social media to share his scheme. He allegedly commented under an article about bars and restaurants requiring guests to show proof of vaccination, allegedly stating “I SELL PROOF OF VACCINATION CARDS.” He also reportedly messaged another individual with the message, “Made 300 today. I’m sold out. Just bought 500 more cards. 60x500 is $30k. I’m gonna be rich.”
If convicted, Shabazz faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ incarceration each for mail fraud and for obstruction of justice. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.
In early 2021, Shabazz was an inmate of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after being sentenced for possession of child pornography. Shabazz was released in April 2021.
On Oct. 1, law enforcement conducted search warrants at a basement used by Shabazz. In the basement, law enforcement said they found a bulleted list titled, “Things I’m doing when I get out (updated).”
The list included obtaining two “burner” cell phones, with the note, “first burner is for scamming.” Another bullet point stated, “hire a lawyer and get tips of what not to do when getting money illegally.”
Investigators then interviewed multiple customers outside of Maryland they say Shabazz sold the fake vaccination cards to and proceeded to recover them.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form by clicking here.