There will be no jail time for the lady who was found guilty of selling falsely negative COVID-19 testing at the Salt Lake City International Airport. 28-year-old Linda Tufui Toli was accused of providing travellers with fake COVID-19 tests between July and September 2021. She admitted to committing wire fraud and was given a 36-month probationary period earlier this month.
According to court documents, Toli also consented to pay $4,495 in restitution, with a $100 minimum payment each month. Toli, according to the prosecution, worked for XpresCheck, a business that provided COVID-19 testing inside airports. For travellers to areas like Hawaii or other locations that required testing for the coronavirus prior to boarding, XpresCheck offered testing specifically inside the Salt Lake City airport.
According to the prosecution, the conspiracy ran from July 2021 until September 2021. Toli was charged with intercepting calls from people requesting COVID-19 travel-related test appointments and cancelling them using XpresCheck in order to sell fake negative tests. Toli was allegedly aware that the tests were bogus, according to the charging papers. Then, for a fee of typically between $200 and $250, Toli would arrange for the visitors to transfer money to her personal bank account using applications like Cash App and Venmo.
She was charged with obtaining the information required to fabricate the test results and send the document back to the travellers using an email account that bore her middle name. According to the allegations, traveller instructions on how to post fraudulent test results to websites so they could be approved for travel were also provided via email.
The wire fraud charge is related to an alleged September transaction in which a phoney test was allegedly sent to a person who had given Toli $200 via Venmo. According to the sentencing memorandum, prosecutors had suggested a three-month prison term, but federal public defenders successfully argued that this punishment would be “more than required” because Toli “did not act out of a selfish motivation of personal benefit.”
It instead claims that Toli was driven to act by the necessity to take care of her father, who was laid off during the epidemic and was dealing with serious medical issues. The memorandum states that by the time of her crime, she had moved in with him and was paying his utilities, car payment, and mortgage. Unfortunately, when expenditures increased, her goodwill was no longer able to support itself, according to her counsel.
“Then, tragically, she recognised a chance for assistance by redirecting client monies to herself. Despite being wrong, she was driven to commit crimes because she desperately wanted to take care of her father.” Additionally, the defence claimed that Toli showed “exceptional acceptance of responsibility” by admitting at away that she had sold at least 17 fake COVID-19 exams. According to the memorandum, “a number” of these sales were not known to the FBI at the time.
The statement reads, “Ms Toli’s full cooperation served as the foundation for determining the scope of her deception, and she genuinely regrets her conduct.” “Despite being driven by a desire to provide for her family, she now realises that her acts were wrong. Since then, she has made an effort to steer out of trouble. Any prison sentence would be excessive punishment for her and would harm her chances of making amends.”