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DENVER -- A Colorado doctor reached out to Contact Denver7 after he saw an online post advertising blank COVID-19 vaccination cards for sale in the Denver metro area.
The post appeared on a firearms marketplace website. According to the listing, the person was selling blank cards that could be used as "replacements or extra copies." It said the cost was $20 apiece with a minimum purchase of five cards.
“It is a problem because it is a crime both at the federal and the state level," said Ian Farrell, Associate Professor at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law.
Farrell explained that selling or forging a vaccination card can lead to serious consequences including fines and prison time.
"At the federal level it’s a crime because the vaccine cards have the seal of both the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services. And under federal law, it's a crime to misuse those marks and you can be punished by up to 5 years in prison and or up to a $5,000 fine," said Farrell.
He said the fraudulent cards could also violate several state laws and amount to charges for forgery.
"I think there’s an argument to be made that it’s the kind of document to which first-degree forgery applies because it purports to have government authority," said Farrell.
Earlier this week, the Manhattan District Attorney filed charges against 15 people in a fake COVID-19 vaccination card conspiracy. A 31-year-old woman was accused of selling 250 forged cards on Instagram under the name AntiVaxMomma.
A 24-year-old tourist was arrested for using a fake vaccination card in Hawaii. Moderna was spelled incorrectly and the error ultimately led to her arrest.
"Creating, selling, and using fake vaccination cards violates state and federal law and undermines public trust at a time when it is needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with other state attorneys general and sales platforms like Shopify, Twitter, and eBay to block the illegal sale of these cards. I encourage everyone to report potentially forged vaccination cards to law enforcement," said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
Weiser's office is now aware of the listing for blank vaccination cards in the Denver metro area. The Colorado Attorney General's Office is encouraging anyone who comes across a post like this to file a formal complaint.