Salt Lake woman admits selling fake COVID test results to airport travelers

A Salt Lake woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to selling fake negative COVID-19 tests to travelers at the Salt Lake City International Airport in 2021.

A Salt Lake woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to selling fake negative COVID-19 tests to travelers at the Salt Lake City International Airport in 2021. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to selling phony negative COVID-19 tests at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Linda Tufui Toli, 28, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Toli's potential jail sentence will likely range from zero to three months, according to a statement in advance of Toli's plea filed Wednesday.

Toli used her position at a company called XpresCheck — which offered testing for COVID-19 inside airports — to divert business away from XpresCheck and sell the counterfeit coronavirus tests for her own profit, according to the plea statement. The scheme took place between July and September 2021, which included Toli selling "counterfeit negative COVID-19 test results to air travelers for under-the-table payments," the plea statement says.

Initial charging documents say Toli would intercept calls from travelers trying to schedule COVID-19 tests. Toli would then cancel their appointments through XpresCheck and instead sell the travelers the counterfeit negative test. Prosecutors accused Toli of knowing the tests were fake.

Toli would direct the travelers to send money to her directly through apps like Cash App and Venmo, the initial charges say. She then would instruct travelers how to upload the phony results online in order to be cleared to fly.

Toli specifically pleaded guilty to the underlying allegations in the wire fraud count, which alleged that Toli had a traveler send her $200 through Venmo in early September. Toli admitted sending a "counterfeit test result even though I knew that (the traveler) had not actually been tested for COVID-19 by XpresCheck," according to the plea statement. Toli also admitted to telling the traveler how to upload the form to a government website so the traveler could visit Hawaii.

The charge against Toli was highlighted in a nationwide law enforcement effort announced by the U.S. Department of Justice in April that aimed to crack down on COVID-19-related fraud.

Toli, who is not being held in jail custody while her case is pending, is slated to appear in court in July for her sentencing hearing.

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Jacob Scholl joined as a reporter in 2021. He covers northern Utah communities, federal courts and technology.


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