Two Women Charged in Fake COVID Vaccination Card Scam
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A woman who calls herself AntiVaxMomma on social media faces a number of charges for selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, New York prosecutors said Tuesday.
They allege that Jasmine Clifford, of Lyndhurst, N.J., sold about 250 fake vaccination cards via her Instagram account in recent months, the Associated Press reported.
Clifford provided the bogus cards for $200 each to people in the New York City area, including some employees of hospitals and nursing homes, according to prosecutors.
They also said that for an extra $250, Clifford's alleged co-conspirator, Nadayza Barkley, of Bellport, L.I., entered a fake card buyer's name into a New York State vaccination database used to confirm vaccine status at venues such as sporting events and concerts, the AP reported.
Barkley entered at least 10 names into the state's vaccine database while working at a Patchogue medical clinic, according to prosecutors.
Clifford was charged with offering a false instrument, criminal possession of a forged instrument and conspiracy, and Barkley was charged with offering a false instrument and conspiracy.
Thirteen alleged buyers of the fake cards were also charged, the AP reported.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. called on Facebook, which owns Instagram, and other tech companies to crack down on vaccine card scams, saying in a statement that "the stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions."
Facebook said that it prohibits anyone from buying or selling COVID-19 vaccine cards and that it removed Clifford's account in early August for breaking its rules.
"We will review any other accounts that might be doing the same thing," the company said in a written statement. "We appreciate the DA's work on this matter and will remove this content whenever we find it."
The sale of fake vaccine cards is a growing concern as more places require proof of vaccination to work, eat in restaurants, and participate in daily activities.
In May, the owner of a Northern California bar was arrested after he allegedly sold made-to-order fake COVID-19 vaccination cards for $20 each, the AP reported, and a naturopathic physician in Northern California was arrested in June on charges she sold fake COVID treatments and vaccination cards.
Two tourists were arrested this month for allegedly using fake vaccine cards to travel into Hawaii, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer has called on federal law enforcement agencies to target online sales of fake COVID vaccination cards, the AP reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.
SOURCE: Associated Press