- A Texas man claimed on Facebook that he paid a family member with COVID-19 to lick groceries at a store.
- Christopher Perez, 40, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for the hoax.
- He told investigators he thought it was “stupid” for people to shop during the pandemic.
A Texas man who said he had people sick with COVID-19 lick groceries at a store was sentenced to 15 months in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
Christopher Perez, 40, posted the threats to the San Antonio, Texas businesses onto his Facebook account in April 2021.
“PSA!! Yo rt GROCERY STOREMERCADO!! My homeboys cousin has covid19 and has licked every thing for past 2 days case we paid him too,” Perez wrote. “YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!! GROCERY STORE on nogalitos next ;).”
In reality, Perez told investigators that he nor none of his family had COVID-19 and that he was really just “shit talking” because he wanted to stop people from shopping for their own safety.
Court filings show Perez told investigators he “thought it was stupid for people to be out shopping and he was trying scare people from the stores in order to stop them from spreading the virus to keep people safe.”
The DOJ did not seem to appreciate Perez’s health and safety advice and assigned an FBI agent to the case with “weapons of mass destruction” experience. Prosecutors pinned Perez with two criminal charges that criminalize “false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons.”
Christopher Combs, the FBI San Antonio Division special agent in charge, said the FBI will look to prosecute anyone who claims to use coronavirus as a weapon, true or not.
“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,” Combs said.
When asked if he was happy that one of the groceries shut down because of his antics, Perez was split, telling investigators “50/50.”
Combs must also pay a $1,000 fine in addition to his prison sentence.