The scheme was perfectly established, almost undetectable. Between July 12 and 13, however, it led to the arrest of six people: four members of a network supplying real-fake vaccination certificates and two buyers. “A first and a great deal”, believes a police source.
It was while crisscrossing the Web during the month of May that the pseudonymous investigation group, a special unit of the cybercrime brigade (BL2C), spotted the proposal for a Snapchat account soberly titled “Doctor unbelievable “. For a price of between 350 and 500 euros, the latter guarantees the supply of perfectly authentic and signed vaccination certificates, he assures, by a doctor.
After two months of infiltration, the police uncover a real network, organized and structured. An administrative officer of a vaccination center located in the suburbs of Lyon reserved vaccination slots for her “clients”, who did not show up for the appointment, but provided all the supporting documents requested to receive the doses of vaccine – essentially from Pfizer. The agent then recorded their passage in the official database listing the vaccinated people, then edited the certificates, exchanged from hand to hand, most often in the Paris suburbs.
400 identified buyers
At least 400 buyers have reportedly been identified, but investigators do not exclude that their number is, from a police source, “Two to three times more important”. The searches, carried out in the Lyon region, in the Val-de-Marne and in the Yvelines, in particular made it possible to discover at least 25,000 euros in cash, blank and already stamped vaccination certificates, laptops, but also fake tickets, luxury items, doctor’s stamps and hospital services. One of those arrested is also strongly suspected of having maintained a thriving counterfeit business, producing and supplying a large clientele – including foreigners, Britons and Spaniards were among its buyers – fake PCR tests, certificates of falsified pregnancy and other usurped diplomas.
On July 14, the cybercrime section of the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation. Six people have already been indicted, three of them, the most involved, for acts of “attacks on an automated data processing system in an organized group, forgery and detention of false administrative, money laundering aggravated and criminal association ”.
From a judicial source, we inform that, “In accordance with the requisitions of the prosecution, two people were placed in pre-trial detention. (…) The others were placed under judicial control ”. An investigation was entrusted to a Parisian magistrate.
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