Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) today announced that the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy has temporarily suspended the license and shut down the pharmacy of a Hudson County pharmacist.
She was arrested on charges of selling falsified COVID-19 vaccination record cards and fraudulently reporting the administration of COVID -19 vaccines to a state-managed vaccination registry without having administered the vaccine.
According to officials, Christina Bekhit, who owns and operates the AllCare Pharmacy at 537 Broadway in Bayonne, was arrested by Bayonne Police on June 22, and charged with Computer Criminal Activity, Tampering with Public Information and Falsification of Records Relating to Medical Care.
In a consent order filed with the Board, Bekhit agreed to the temporary suspension of her pharmacy license pending the outcome of the charges and pending further action by the Board.
The consent order also directs Bekhit to discontinue her pharmacy business or sell AllCare Pharmacy by August 29, 2022.
Bekhit opted to discontinue business and surrender her Board-issued permit to operate AllCare Pharmacy.
“Forging vaccination cards and entering false information into the State’s vaccination database is a crime that creates a grave public health risk,” Acting Attorney General Platkin said.
“With the spread of COVID-19 still a significant threat to New Jerseyans, the alleged conduct of this licensee is beyond reckless. The Pharmacy Board acted appropriately in removing her from practice while these criminal charges are pending.”
Officials stated that the charges against Bekhit are the result of an investigation conducted by the New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), in coordination with the Division and the Bayonne Police Department.
According to the criminal complaint against her, on three occasions, Bekhit sold falsified COVID-19 vaccination record cards to undercover investigators for $250 apiece, including one undercover investigator who told Bekhit her job required her to be vaccinated.
The cards displayed vaccination dates and lot numbers for vaccines that were never administered to the recipients.
The complaint further alleges that Bekhit entered false vaccination information into the New Jersey Immunization Information System database (NJIIS), purporting that the individuals had received COVID-19 vaccinations when they had not.
NJIIS is an online system managed by the New Jersey Department of Health that serves as the official repository of immunizations administered to children, adolescents, and adults in New Jersey.
MCFU began investigating Bekhit after receiving information that Bekhit had sold a fraudulent COVID-19 record card to a Bayonne Police officer conducting an undercover operation in January 2022.
According to officials, during the encounter with the undercover officer, Bekhit allegedly asked if he “really wanted to take the vaccine.”
When the undercover officer said he did not, Bekhit allegedly offered to sell him a vaccine card that would include two vaccination dates and would be entered into the NJIIS database.
Before leaving the pharmacy, Bekhit allegedly told the undercover officer, “if anyone you know wants a vaccine card, bring them to me.”
Officials said that in two subsequent visits from undercover investigators with the MCFU in February and March, Bekhit allegedly accepted payments for fake vaccination record cards and entered false information into the NJIIS. The criminal investigation is ongoing.
Upon receiving information about Bekhit’s arrest, the Board immediately moved to take action against her license.
Under the consent order filed on Tuesday, July 5, Bekhit must immediately cease and desist from engaging in the practice of pharmacy, including filling, refilling, or dispensing any drug, handling prescriptions or devices and medications requiring prescriptions, advising or consulting with patients.
She is also prohibited from being present within any area of a pharmacy that is not open to the general public.