Using Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards Can Result in Serious Criminal Charges
A recent story about an Illinois woman’s arrest in Hawaii for using a fake vaccine card went viral across media outlets and social media platforms. While some readers of the story found certain details of the case humorous, the charges she is facing and the potential penalties if she is convicted are anything but.
Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccine Card
According to details released by the Honolulu Police Department, the Oak Lawn, IL woman arrived in Hawaii on August 23. Hawaii has a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all visitors to the state, unless the visitor can provide proof they are vaccinated. The woman uploaded a COVID-19 vaccine card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website; however, that upload was flagged by authorities on suspicion of being counterfeit.
One reason why the card was flagged is that the type of shot on the card was listed as “Maderna.” The actual spelling of that shot should be “Moderna.” When authorities looked further at the information provided on the woman’s form, there were signs that raised more red flags, including her failure to list what hotel she was staying at and false departing flight information. The woman also said she received her vaccine in Delaware, but when authorities checked, that state had no record of her in their system.
After ignoring all attempts to contact her, the woman was arrested a week later at the airport as she was getting ready to board a flight back home.
State and Federal Charges
The woman in this case is facing misdemeanor charges at the state level. If convicted, she faces up to a year in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. Every state has some form of statute that makes it illegal to use a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.
What many people do not realize is that they may also face federal charges if they are found with a fake vaccine card, and the penalties for conviction are much harsher than state-level charges.
Each vaccine card has the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) seal. Each fake card must also have that CDC seal on it in order to look real. However, any fraudulent use of a government seal is a federal crime, and a person convicted can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for each single offense. These charges not only apply to those who make and sell the counterfeit cards, but also anyone who uses a counterfeit card.
Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with any kind of activity using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card, it is important to understand just how serious these charges are and the significant impact a conviction can have on your future. Do not try to fight these charges on your own. Call Davi Law Group, LLC at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Wheaton, IL fraud defense attorneys.