Three men in Baltimore County are accused of forging the site of Massachusetts pharmaceutical and biotech company Moderna to sell fake COVID-19 vaccines. Twenty-five-year-old Owings Mills resident Kelly Lamont Williams, along with his cousins and Windsor Mill residents - 22-year-old Olakitan Oluwalade and 25-year-old Odunayo Baba Oluwalade, also known as Olaki and Baba respectively - were arrested on February 11.
A vaccine (mRNA-1273) developed by Moderna was approved on December 19, 2020, by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for immediate use in USA, for the prevention of COVID-19 in people aged 18 years and older. Via fake site, the three men appear to have sold hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines for $ 30.
According to an affidavit, the fake site was spotted by the Center for Intellectual Property Rights (HSI) on January 11, 2021. An HSI Special Agent Contacted a Fake Phone Number domain, which the researchers found to be associated with a account in an encrypted application messaging.
Two hours later, the agent received a reply asking for an address emails, which he gave. The agent then received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, who "welcomed" him to Moderna, described his company and detailed his storage requirements vaccine.
According to Infosecurity Magazine, after several emails the agent agreed to give $ 6.000 for 200 doses of the vaccine to a Navy Federal Credit Union account in the name of Kelly Lamont Williams.
On January 15, 2021, the government confiscated the fake domain. Search warrants executed at the homes of all three defendants revealed communications between Baba, Olaki, and Williams discussing the plan. fraud.
Olaki had also applied for and fraudulently received a COVID-19 Financial Injury Loan, which was funded by the federal government in the summer of 2020.
All three men are charged with fraud. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.