November 9, 2021
Police in Western Australia have charged a nurse with fraud after she was discovered pretending to vaccinate her friends and family.
Christina Hartmann Benz, 51, has been charged with one count of gains benefit by fraud after her supervisor observed her inserting a vaccine needle into the teenager of a friend on Sunday without dispensing the vaccine, the Sydney Herald reported .
She had previously vaccinated up to 25 people that previous weekend, all of whom had specifically requested her, a police prosecutor told the Perth Magistrates Court.
She had already sought approval from the clinic where she had worked since November 2 vaccinate her family and friends, but raised suspicions when visitors would ask for her by name and then enter a room with her, with the door closed, citing privacy reasons, which the prosecutor said was “clearly an anti-vaccination stance.”
Benz was arrested at her home on Sunday and held in custody overnight. Police officials have strongly opposed bail over concerns that she may contact witnesses and former patients so they can come up with alibis before the police contacted them, the Sydney Herald reported.
The prosecutor said more charges could be likely, as the ongoing investigation found that she had used other doctor’s names when filling out the COVID-19 records of vaccination.
Benz however was granted strict bail on the condition that she was not to administer any more COVID vaccinations, practice as a registered nurse, contact any patients or colleagues or use social media to communicate with anyone.
She wasn’t considered a flight risk because her family were in Perth and so was allowed out on $5,000 bail with $5,000 surety. She is to appear in court in a month’s time.
Her husband, whom she also “vaccinated”, also appeared at court to support her. The couple, Sydney Herald reported, have been linked to anti-vaccination organization Australian Vaccination Network, which in 2014 had been investigated over information spread on its website and Facebook page.