Imagine being the guy in prison who has to tell everyone he’s in for lying on Facebook about having paid a sick person to lick food.
A Texas man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for posting hoaxes on Facebook that falsely claimed he had paid someone with covid-19 to lick items at two grocery stores in San Antonio, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The 40-year-old man, identified by prosecutors as Christopher Charles Perez, posted his hoaxes back in April 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, and wanted to scare people away from visiting the stores, according to the Justice Department. The messages were circulated on Facebook and eventually reported to the FBI.
Perez, who also goes by the name Christopher Robin, was convicted in June on two counts under 18 U.S.C. § 1038, which makes it a crime to distribute false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons. In this case, covid-19 was the “biological weapon” Perez was falsely claiming to use.
“PSA!! Yo rt HEB MERCADO! My homeboys cousin has covid19 and has licked every thing for past 2 days cause we paid him too [4 EMOTICONS],” Perez wrote on Facebook in April 2020, according to court documents. The court filing did not specify the emoticons Perez used.
“Big difference is we told him not to be these fucking idiots who record and post online… YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. HEB on nogalitos next ;)” Perez continued.
According to what he told investigators, his motivation was to help. In his mind, too many people were still shopping at grocery stores and this was his way of trying to thin out the crowds and prevent spread of the virus.
There must be better ways to do that than one that ensures you and only you won’t be shopping anywhere for a year and a quarter, but I’ll be honest, appealing to people’s decency and common sense hasn’t been the best strategy, so maybe Chris here was ahead of his time.