POMONA, Calif. (CNS) -- A former Los Angeles County contract worker on Thursday pleaded not guilty to stealing hundreds of blank vaccination cards from a COVID-19 vaccination center at the Pomona Fairplex.
Muhammad Rauf Ahmed, 46, of Las Vegas, was charged June 9 with a felony count of grand theft.
Ahmed allegedly stole more than 500 vaccination cards, which have a value of at least $15 each if illegally sold, according to Los Angeles County prosecutors.
Officials determined April 27 that blank vaccine cards had been stolen from the vaccination site where Ahmed was assigned to work, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
In a statement, La Verne police said 528 blank COVID-19 vaccine cards were recovered in the suspect's hotel room.
Ahmed -- described by police as a non-clinical, contracted employee hired to support the Fairplex Mega-Pod vaccination site that at times administered nearly 4,000 COVID-19 vaccinations a day -- was arrested April 27. He was released the same day, according to jail records.
"Selling fraudulent and stolen vaccine cards is illegal, immoral and puts the public at risk of exposure to a deadly virus,'' District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement in June announcing the case.