After several months of investigation, a gang that hacked the professional accounts of health workers, to generate and sell more than 3,000 fake health passes, was dismantled by the gendarmerie.
Since the introduction of the health pass in the summer of 2021, and more recently the vaccination pass, the Central Office for the Fight against Environmental and Public Health Damage has been monitoring the phenomenon of fraud against these documents. To date, the office would conduct and coordinate, with other investigative services, nearly 400 judicial investigations.
And one of these investigations has just been completed. On February 8, 9 and 10, 2022, about fifty soldiers attached to OCLAESP, but also to the Grenoble Research Section (S.R.), to the departmental gendarmerie groups of Haute-Savoie, Drôme and Rhône, conducted a vast judicial operation. It aimed to arrest four individuals, based in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Île-de-France regions, suspected of being involved in trafficking in fake health passes.
Investigations begin following the implicated of another individual, in a similar case. Thanks to the information provided by this person, investigators manage to trace a whole chain of flow of false passes, from the reseller on social networks to counterfeiters. To complete their sleight of hand, these individuals are suspected of hijacking the personal data of health professionals. They would have generated several thousand false passes, all sold mainly in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
Luxury watches and SUVs
Searches at the homes of the suspects allowed investigators to get their hands on the equipment used to operate their business: mobile phones, digital media containing data from health professionals, as well as elements to materialize the generation of false passes.
But the seizures do not stop there. The gendarmes also seize the loot accumulated by the members of this network, thanks to the profits generated by their illicit traffic: several luxury watches, such as Rolex or Audemars-Piguet, but also multimedia equipment, as well as an SUV.
Nine months of house arrest
Two of the defendants were released after their police custody, pending legal action. Another is being summoned to court soon and the fourth was tried in immediate court on Friday, February 11, 2022, by the Valencian Court of Justice (26). He is sentenced to nine months of house arrest with an electronic bracelet.
As a reminder, using, obtaining or selling a fake health pass is punishable by five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros. To date, 182,000 false health passes have been identified by the authorities.