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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on Tuesday filed charges against 15 individuals who were allegedly involved in a fake COVID-19 vaccination card conspiracy, the New York County district attorney's office announced.
Driving the news: Jasmine Clifford, 31, who allegedly sold nearly 250 forged COVID-19 vaccination cards over Instagram, was charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, conspiracy in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree.
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Clifford worked with Nadayza Barkley, 27, to wrongly enter at least 10 individuals into the New York State Immunization Information System database, prosecutors said.
Among the individuals who purchased the cards, 13 are believed to work in essential-employee settings, including hospitals. Those individuals were also charged, per the district attorney's office.
Between the lines: Clifford, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur with multiple online businesses, advertised forged COVID-19 vaccination cards through her Instagram account, @AntiVaxMomma, beginning in May, according Vance's office.
Clifford charged $200 for fake CDC vaccination cards, and for an additional $250 fee, Barkley would enter the individual’s name into the NYSIIS database as having received COVID-19 vaccinations, Vance's office said.
What they're saying: "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 said.
“We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms," he added.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Go deeper: Fake vaccine cards emerge in U.S., E.U. as vaccine mandates loom
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