CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Plastic surgeon, clinic, associates named in COVID vaccine card scheme

Jan 18, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2023, 1:07 pm

covid vaccine card fraud scheme indictment...

A 19-page federal indictment unsealed Jan. 17, 2023, details accusations of COVID-19 vaccine card fraud involving a Utah plastic surgery clinic. (Becky Bruce/KSL NewsRadio)

(Becky Bruce/KSL NewsRadio)

MIDVALE, Utah — A federal indictment unsealed this week in Utah names a Midvale plastic surgery clinic, a plastic surgeon, and his office manager, receptionist and neighbor in a scheme to defraud the government in a phony COVID vaccine card scheme. 

The charges name the Plastic Surgery Institute of Utah, Dr. Kirk Moore, and three others: his office manager, Kari Burgoyne, neighbor Kristen Andersen, and receptionist Sandra Flores. All three face felony charges; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to convert, sell, convey, and dispose of government property; and conversion, sale, conveyance, and disposal of government property and aiding and abetting the same. 

Court documents obtained by KSL show the scheme unraveled with the assistance of undercover agents. They were able to make appointments to get vaccine cards without the shot.

COVID vaccine card scheme uncovered

According to the charges, Moore and Burgoyne allegedly referred clients who wanted a vaccine card but not the vaccine to Andersen. Andersen reportedly instructed the undercover agents to use Venmo or Paypal to send $50. In addition, they received instructions to include an “orange” in the memo line. Once Andersen got the receipt, prosecutors said she would send the agent back the instructions to get the COVID vaccine card. 

Prosecutors said the scheme relied on “referral” business; both agents were asked to provide details about who referred them to receive the COVID vaccine card. At least one agent received instructions to use the encrypted messaging app Signal to communicate, the charges alleged. 

“ANDERSEN also asked Undercover Agent 2 not to call and ask questions on the clinic number,” the indictment continued. 

Kids offered saline shots as part of vaccine card conspiracy 

The charges detailed that same agent asking whether his kids could get fraudulent COVID vaccine cards. That agent was told the kids could get saline shots to make them think they received the vaccine.

“On June 21, 2022, when Undercover Agent 2 asked FLORES if his children could also receive similar COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards, FLORES wrote on a Post-it note that ‘with 18 & younger, we do a saline shot,'” according to the indictment. 

Prosecutors said Moore signed an agreement to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control on behalf of the Plastic Surgery Institute. They said he and his office manager, Burgoyne, ordered hundreds of doses to distribute. However, instead of distributing the vaccine once the doses began to arrive, the doses went down the drain.  

“In furtherance of the conspiracy, and with the intent to benefit PLASTIC SURGERY INSTITUTE, the Defendants destroyed or caused to be destroyed viable doses of COVID-19 vaccines, usually by drawing them from the bottle and then squirting them down the drain from a syringe,” prosecutors wrote. 

Falsified vaccine statistics

Anyone who received the fraudulent cards had their names uploaded to a state vaccine database, the charges stated. 

“All told, they caused to be uploaded to this system records purporting to show that the Plastic Surgery Institute had properly administered at least 1,937 doses of COVID-19 vaccines,” the indictment stated. 

By estimating the cost to the government of each type of COVID-19 vaccine dose, the government lost more than $28,000 in doses. Prosecutors estimated the value of the vaccine record cards at $96,850, accounting for the $50 each charged to clients. 

Combined, that adds up to $124,878.50, which is the amount prosecutors are seeking in the indictment. They also ask that the defendants forfeit any remaining COVID-19 vaccine doses and COVID vaccine record cards. 

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Plastic surgeon, clinic, associates named in COVID vaccine card scheme