COVID-19 Scam: Man allegedly performed fake coronavirus tests on kids

A man charged parents hundreds of shekels to perform improper serological tests on their children and falsified the results.

 Serological COVID tests. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Serological COVID tests.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A 37-year-old resident of Bat Yam was arrested on suspicion of charging parents hundreds of shekels to perform improper serological tests on their children and then falsifying the results by sending other people’s blood to the lab.

The Tel Aviv District Police Fraud Unit said the man had gone to people’s homes and offered to test their children for coronavirus antibodies – something some parents would want to do in order to obtain a Green Pass for their children.

However, rather than inserting a small needle into the children’s veins and drawing the blood out into tubes – as per standard and best practice – he would take the blood by pricking the children’s fingers, which would likely render the tests unreliable. Moreover, he would then send the blood of adults to a laboratory in a hospital in the center of the country. The test tubes were marked with the children’s names and personal details.

The young man was caught when the Health Ministry received a complaint from the lab, which suspected the blood samples of some of the children contained components that indicated it was adult blood.

During the covert investigation, suspicion arose surrounding the suspect because his name was being circulated among parent groups as someone who performs child tests with just the prick of a finger in the Tel Aviv area.

Israeli receiving a COVID test at Meuhedet Health Maintenance Organization center in Jerusalem on August 11, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Israeli receiving a COVID test at Meuhedet Health Maintenance Organization center in Jerusalem on August 11, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Fraud Unit investigators located dozens of suspected test tubes containing adult blood in the lab, samples allegedly taken from children.

According to the police, it is suspected that the man charged hundreds of shekels for each examination without updating parents that he had been performing improper tests and without telling them the lab results were incorrect.

The suspect was arrested and interrogated on suspicion of committing an act that could spread illness, forgery under aggravated circumstances, and fraud.

On Tuesday morning, he was brought before a judge at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court. His detention was extended by seven days of house arrest, while police continue their investigation.

It is unclear what he did with the children’s blood.