A Canadian CEO with an impressive net worth and his actress wife have been charged with coronavirus-related offenses after allegedly pretending to be motel workers in a bid to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rodney Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, flew privately to Beaver Creek last week to receive shots of the new Moderna vaccine, which were intended for the high-risk, elderly population of White River First Nation — a Yukon community in a remote part of Canada.
They arrived in the community on January 21st and later received their first dose of the vaccine after allegedly providing false information about where they worked and lived.
However, the couple began to arouse suspicion after taking a ride to the airport when they were meant to be quarantining nearby after their travel from Vancouver.
The motel they claimed to work at later denied they were employees, and officials found the pair getting ready to fly home instead of isolating as they had agreed.
Speaking on behalf of the Yukon community, minister John Streicker said he was “pretty angry” and “offended” about what Ekaterina and Rodney Baker had done and accused them of putting the community and those administering the vaccine at risk.
Around 100 people living in the community were given the vaccine as part of the program. The Bakers were charged with failing to follow their travel declaration and failing to self-isolate. They will face a penalty of up to $1150 or six months in prison.
Chief Angela Demit, of White River First Nation, expressed “deep concern” about the actions of the couple, saying their actions were not “appropriate.”
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek did not hold back in a statement that read: “These actions are a blatant display of disrespect and an exemplification of true privilege and entitlement; a selfish millionaire and his wife stole doses of the vaccine from a vulnerable population and put an entire community, nation, and region at risk. This cowardly act should not go unpunished, and authorities should send a message to anyone else trying to commit such a heinous offense that it will not be tolerated.”
On Sunday, casino executive Rodney Baker stepped down from his position as CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (that operates casinos and racetracks ), where he made an annual salary in excess of $10 million.
In 2020, he made a C$45.9m profit on stock options and will receive the large sum of C$28m when the sale of Great Canadian to an American buyer is finalized in late 2021.
White River made it clear that the penalties against the couple are insufficient “considering the gravity of the incident” and demanded that the government “pursue a more just punishment.”