DA: NYC Hospital, Nursing Home Workers Bought Bogus Vax Cards

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This undated image provided by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California shows two fake CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards that are part of a criminal complaint. With more than 600 colleges and universities now requiring proof of COVID-19 inoculations, an online industry has sprung up offering fake vaccine cards. Dozens of students interviewed by the Associated Press said they were aware of fake covid-19 vaccination cards, though none admitted to actually using one. (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New Jersey woman advertising herself on Instagram as the AntiVaxMomma sold several hundred fake COVID-19 vaccination cards at $200 a pop to New York City-area jab dodgers, including people working in hospitals and nursing homes, prosecutors said Tuesday.

For an extra $250, a second scammer would then enter a bogus card buyer’s name into a New York state vaccination database, which feeds systems used to verify vaccine status at places they’re required, such as concerts and sporting events, prosecutors said.

Jasmine Clifford, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was charged Tuesday with offering a false instrument, criminal possession of a forged instrument and conspiracy. Authorities say she sold about 250 fake vaccine cards in recent months.

Clifford’s alleged co-conspirator, Nadayza Barkley, of Bellport, Long Island, did not enter a plea an an arraignment Tuesday morning in Manhattan criminal court on charges of offering a false instrument and conspiracy.

Prosecutors say Barkley entered at least 10 names into the state’s vaccine database while working at a Patchogue medical clinic and received payments for her work from Clifford through the services Zelle and CashApp.

Online court records did not list lawyers for Clifford or Barkley who could comment.

Thirteen alleged card purchasers were also charged, including a man who has been accused of paying to be entered in the database. Actual COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. called on Facebook, which owns Instagram, and other tech companies to crack down on vaccine card fraudsters, saying in a statement “the stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions.”

A message seeking comment was left with a spokesperson for Facebook.

According to prosecutors, Clifford, a self-described online entrepreneur, started hawking forged Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards through her AntiVaxMomma Instagram account in May.

A New York state police investigator who became aware of the scam a few weeks later tested it by contacting Clifford to order a fake card and to be added to the state vaccine database, prosecutors said.

In July, the investigator said in court papers, he received a package containing a CDC COVID-19 vaccination card marked with the name and date of birth he provided and a cellphone screenshot showing that the information he provided had also been added to the state database.


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