Federal prison sentence was handed down to a Texas man for posting on Facebook that someone with COVID-19 had been paid to inflict the virus.
Christopher Charles Perez (40), also known as Robbins was found guilty of two charges for violating federal laws that criminalize false information and hoaxes related biological weapons. He pretended to be spreading COVID-19 in a San Antonio grocery shop, according to the Justice Department.
According to NBC News, Perez posted: “My homeboys cousin has covid19 and has licked every thing for past 2 days cause we paid him too [sic]It was. He was told not to record or post on the internet by these f —— idiots. . ………………YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!!”
An online tip was sent to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center showing a screenshot of Perez’s Facebook post, which he posted in April 2020. Soon, the Texas Fusion Center contacted San Antonio’s FBI to continue investigating.
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Perez acknowledged that he had not paid anyone to infect grocery stores with the virus, but the post was false.
“Those who would threaten to use COVID-19 as a weapon against others will be held accountable for their actions, even if the threat was a hoax,” said FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “Perez’s actions were knowingly designed to spread fear and panic, and today’s sentencing illustrates the seriousness of this crime. The FBI would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their help in this case.”
At a time COVID-19 was only beginning to spread rapidly, the fabricated media posts were made. The post was written in April 2020. There were over 1,000,000 cases of COVID-19 by that time.
Perez was sentenced to a 15 month term and also ordered to pay $1,000 in fines.
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