A federal court in Ohio issued a permanent injunction to stop a woman from selling fake vaccine cards, the United States Department of Justice said Thursday.
Tiffany Keller, a 39 year old from Junction City, Ohio, allegedly “advertised her services on a blog that discussed how to make fake CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards and offered to print fake cards for $40 per card and ship them to paying customers via priority mail,” the Justice Department said in a press release. Keller sold at least 77 fake cards.
Keller’s actions were in violation of the Social Security Act. According to the release, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General can “impose a civil money penalty of up to $11,506 for each violation.”
Selling 77 cards at $40 apiece, Keller would have earned slightly over $3,000. She could likewise be liable for a penalty exceeding $885,000.
“Printing, selling and distributing fake vaccine cards undermines important efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton said in the release. “The department is committed to working with our federal partners to root out this kind of unlawful activity.”
Keller agreed to be permanently enjoined from misusing words, symbols, and emblems belonging to the Department of Health and Human Services, selling fake vaccination cards, and advertising her illicit services. If she violates the agreement, she could face over $440,000 in civil penalties.
“During this time of a national emergency, individuals should not capitalize on the situation for their own greed,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker added. “This type of fraud is particularly problematic as it could endanger the health of others.”
As various employers and government agencies mandate COVID-19 vaccines, many high-profile cases of fake vaccination cards have occurred over the past several months.
Then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown was suspended for three games in December by the NFL for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols by using a fake vaccination card. “The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” a statement from the NFL read. “The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic.”
In April, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) accused around 70 teachers of submitting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards — but a teachers union says the accusations are unfounded.
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) told PIX11 News that teachers accused of showing fake vaccine cards will be placed on unpaid leave, yet UFT said the DOE doesn’t have the evidence to make such a move. “It is wholly improper for the DOE to unilaterally remove UFT members from the payroll based on mere conjecture that vaccination documentation is fraudulent,” UFT said in a letter to the DOE.
New York City required its public school teachers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of last September. “About 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city health and education departments,” Pix reported at the time.