Fifteen people are facing charges connected to a fake Covid-19 vaccination card conspiracy involving the sale of forged cards and the fraudulent entry of people into New York’s vaccination database, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced in a news release Tuesday.
Thirteen of the people who have been charged and allegedly purchased the fake cards are “believed to work in frontline and essential-employee settings, including hospitals and nursing homes,” the release said.
They are each charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. One of those people is also charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree – for paying to be entered into the state’s vaccine database.
Jasmine Clifford, 31, allegedly advertised forged US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid-19 vaccine cards through her Instagram account and charged $200 for the cards, the release said. For an additional $250, Nadayza Barkley, 27, who works at a medical clinic in Patchogue on Long Island, would then allegedly enter the person’s name into the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) as having received the Covid-19 vaccine, the release added.
NYSIIS serves as the central vaccination database and feeds data into New York’s Excelsior Pass.
Clifford sold about 250 forged Covid-19 vaccine cards and worked with Barkley to fraudulently enter at least 10 people into that system, the release added.
Clifford and Barkley are each charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree – which is a felony – and conspiracy in the fifth degree. Clifford is also facing an additional charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, also a felony.
CNN has reached out to Barkley’s attorney for comment and is attempting to identify an attorney for Clifford.
“We will continue to safeguard public health in New York with proactive investigations like these, but the stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions,” Vance, the district attorney, said in a statement. “We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms. Making, selling, and purchasing forged vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences.”
The investigation is ongoing, Vance added.