SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -A San Antonio man has been arrested and charged with perpetrating a COVID-19-related hoax.

Federal investigators say 39-year-old Christopher Charles Perez  posted a threat on Facebook in which he claimed to have paid someone to spread coronavirus at grocery stores in the San Antonio area.  He claims he did it  because he was trying to keep people from visiting the stores and spreading COVID-19.    A screenshot of that post was sent to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center on Sunday, and the FBI office in San Antonio was contacted.

Investigators say the threat was false. Perez did not pay anyone to spread COVID-19 at grocery stores, but he’s charged with breaking the law which criminalizes false information and hoaxes related to weapons of mass destruction.  He was arrested Tuesday afternoon and remains in federal custody. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison.

The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating this case.

If you think that you or your family are the victims of a scam or attempted fraud involving coronavirus, you can
contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or by email at [email protected].

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