U.S. Attorney’s Office Shuts Down Multiple Websites Claiming To Offer Preorders For COVID-19 Vaccine
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States Attorney Russell Coleman today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky to shut down a webpage, six related web addresses and a related Facebook page that the suit says are attempting to lure consumers to “pre-register” for a non-existent COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for $100 worth of Bitcoin (“BTC”), a type of cryptocurrency. The lawsuit names Luke John Flint, of Louisville, Kentucky, doing business through “coronavaccine.center”, “coronavaccine.today”; “coronatesting.site”; “coronatesting.center”; “coronavaccine.shop”; “coronavaccine.club”; and “covid19vaccine.center. Today a federal judge entered an order prohibiting Flint and others associated with the websites from committing wire fraud, maintaining and doing business through the websites and social media, and destroying business records.
According to the civil complaint, the purpose of these websites, which contain several false statements, is to induce victims to pay Flint and those working in concert with him for a non-existent vaccine for COVID-19 amid the global pandemic. There is currently no known FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine. The website and related Facebook page lists the Corona Vaccine Center’s address as 545 South Clay Street, Louisville, KY, which is nothing more than an empty parking lot/field.
The civil complaint further alleges that Flint is not a licensed medical professional and he is not registered with the FDA to investigate or develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and as such, he could not legally distribute a vaccine. When interviewed by federal agents, Flint admitted that there is no known FDA approved vaccine for COVID-19 and that he is unaware if and when one would become available. During this interview, Flint also admitted that he is not a licensed medical professional and is not registered with the FDA to distribute a vaccine for COVID-19, if and when one becomes available.
“Seeking to profit during a global pandemic by offering false hope is both foul and flat out puts vulnerable people at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “We will pursue every available legal tool in our toolkit to swiftly put an end to such predatory conduct.”
Flint has signed an agreed injunction, agreeing that the “United States can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant is about to violate or is violating” the federal wire fraud statute.
The case is styled United States of America v. Luke John Flint, 3:20-cv-489-CHB. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Elver and William F. Campbell are handling the case. The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.