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Court: United States District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City
Description: Salt Lake City, Utah criminal defense lawyers representing Defendants charged with health care fraud.
Nicholas Frank Sciotto, 32, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Kyle Blake Burbage, 32, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, manufactured, sold, and distributed at least 120,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination record cards across the country between March 2021 through September 2021. Sciotto, a former resident of Weber County, Utah, started and operated an online business where he began to fraudulently manufacture and sell the COVID-19 vaccination record cards. As alleged in the indictment, most of Sciotto’s buyers lived in New York where they were subject to more stringent COVID-19 vaccine restrictions. Sciotto’s co-conspirator, Burbage, purchased counterfeit vaccination record cards from Sciotto and then resold some of the counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination record cards and distributed them in South Carolina. By collectively manufacturing, selling, and distributing thousands of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination record cards to others during the COVID-19 pandemic, the defendants significantly undermined the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination program and other governmental health-and-safety regulations and protocols. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Sciotto primarily sold the counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards online through Facebook and charged approximately $10 each, for orders of 10 or more cards, and $7.50 each, for orders of 100 or more cards.
The case is part of a nationwide coordinated law enforcement action by the Department of Justice to combat health care fraud related to COVID-19. In total, DOJ announced criminal charges against 18 defendants in nine federal districts across the United States. These cases allegedly resulted in over $490 million in COVID-19 related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally-funded pandemic programs. See national DOJ release here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-nationwide-coordinated-law-enforcement-action-combat-covid-19
Defendant, Nicholas Frank Sciotto, taking a quasi-selfie with counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in the background.
Sciotto and Burbage are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. The defendants are scheduled for their initial court appearances April 20, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah.
U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah made the announcement.
The case is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG), and FBI Salt Lake City Field Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Todd Bouton, of the District of Utah is prosecuting the case.
Outcome: An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.