Utah plastic surgeon gave children saline solutions instead of COVID vaccines in fraud scheme, prosecutors say

The surgeon, two of his employees and a neighbor have been charged in connection with the plan.

(Wilfredo Lee | AP) A man holds a vaccination reminder card after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A Midvale plastic surgeon and four other people were charged on January 11 for allegedly providing fraudulent vaccination cards to people who had not received doses of vaccine.

A Midvale plastic surgeon and three other Utahns were charged with conspiracy last week after prosecutors said they dumped nearly 2,000 doses of COVID vaccine down a drain, handed out fake vaccination cards – and, at the request of some parents, injected saline into children to convince them the young patients that they have been vaccinated.

dr Michael Kirk Moore Jr., 58, reportedly directed the program from the Plastic Surgery Institute of Utah, located at 7535 Union Park Ave. along with two other institute employees – Kari Dee Burgoyne and Sandra Flores. Moore’s third co-defendant, Kristen Andersen, is his neighbor, according to court records.

Andersen and Moore were both members of an unnamed private organization “that seeks to ‘free’ the medical profession from government and industry conflicts of interest,” according to court documents.

Investigators say Moore initially signed an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May 2021 to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination cards from the plastic surgery practice. Moore and Burgoyne then ordered “hundreds” of COVID-19 vaccine doses from the CDC between May 2021 and September 2022, court documents say.

As the first doses arrived at the practice, Moore and Burgoyne informed people looking for a fraudulent vaccination card that they could obtain a completed card from the Midvale practice without actually receiving vaccine doses if they paid $50 in cash or donate $50 to the private organization of which Andersen and Moore were members.

Burgoyne managed the day-to-day logistics of the program, the documents said, and referred people interested in acquiring fake vaccination cards to Andersen. Andersen then screened everyone referred to them and demanded that they provide the name of someone else who had already given the practice a fake vaccination card.

Once the person was verified, Andersen would give them a link to the privates organization to which she and Moore belonged and are requesting a donation of US$50 from them per person for each vaccination “appointment” to obtain a fake vaccination card.

People then picked up the cards at the doctor’s office, where Flores and other staff filled out and stamped the cards to falsely indicate the patients had been given doses of vaccine, investigators said.

Some of the people looking for fake vaccination cards were parents and in some cases they wanted fake vaccination cards for their children. In such cases, Moore, Burgoyne and Flores gave children saline shots at the parents’ request to make them believe they had been vaccinated, court documents say.

Burgoyne would then upload the names of all alleged vaccine recipients to the Utah Statewide Immunization Information System — falsely reporting that the practice had administered 1,937 vaccine doses, including 391 Pfizer pediatric doses. That amounts to about $28,028 worth of actual vaccine doses, which the defendants allegedly drew from bottles with a syringe and injected down a drain, the documents say.

The scheme was uncovered after an undercover agent went through the process of acquiring a fraudulent vaccination card from the practice in March 2022, investigators say.

This month, after the agent completed the verification process and was told to pick up the fake vaccination card at the office, a second agent attempted to purchase a fake vaccination card.

When the second agent received his fake card, the agent asked Flores if his children could also receive a similar COVID-19 vaccination card. In response, Flores wrote on a Post-it note that “we do saline at 18 and under,” the court filings said.

In total, the value of the fraudulent CDC vaccination cards plus the doses of vaccine dumped was $124,878.50 in government property, according to court documents.

All four defendants and the Plastic Surgery Institute of Utah were charged with three counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to convert, sell, transfer and dispose of state property; and the conversion, sale, transfer and disposition of government property, as well as aid and assistance.

Moore, Burgoyne, Andersen and Flores will appear in court for the first time on January 26 at 2pm

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2023/01/19/utah-plastic-surgeon-gave-kids/ Utah plastic surgeon gave children saline solutions instead of COVID vaccines in fraud scheme, prosecutors say

Justin Scacco

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