TX Man Not Laughing After 15 Years For COVID Hoax

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Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks it is funny to spread fear.

A press release from the US Department of Justice said that in April 2020 Christopher Charles Perez, 40, aka Christopher Robbins of San Antonio, had the brilliant idea to go to Facebook and pretend he paid someone with COVID-19 to go lick items at grocery stores in the San Antonio area.

Someone who saw the message took a screenshot and sent it to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center (SWTFC), who then contacted the FBI. The FBI investigated the complaint and found that Perez, by his own admission, had not paid anyone to try to spread COVID-19 in grocery stores.

Of course, law enforcement does not take this kind of hoax lightly and will prosecute those who attempt to spread fear to the fullest extent of the law. As a result, Perez was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and fined $ 1,000.

FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent Christopher Combs said anyone who commits such a hoax will be held accountable:

Those who threaten to use COVID-19 as a weapon against others will be held accountable for their actions, even if the threat were a hoax. Perez’s actions were knowingly designed to instill fear and panic, and today’s conviction illustrates the gravity of this crime. The FBI would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their assistance in this matter.

I guess Perez thought it was a pretty fun thing to do at the time. He clearly isn’t laughing now.

If you have any information regarding fraud involving COVID-19, contact the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721. You can also submit a report online here.

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