BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Cheektowaga woman has been arraigned on a felony charge for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to undercover state troopers, according to Erie County District Attorney's Office.
Kaiyah Heinrich, 24, was in court on Monday for a felony hearing where she was charged one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (class “D” felony).
The New York State Department of Health received a tip that Heinrich was allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards from her Facebook account. Prosecutors allege that Heinrich knowingly and intentionally sold two falsified COVID-19 vaccination cards to undercover investigators on March 10 at Thruway Plaza Drive in the Town of Cheektowaga.
This is the second case to be prosecuted following the passage of the "Truth in Vaccination" legislation that considers a vaccination card a "written instrument" under New York State penal laws related to fraud. The case against a West Seneca couple who was charged for allegedly using fake vaccine cards to attend a Buffalo Bills game in violation of rules at Highmark Stadium remains pending in Orchard Park Town Court.
“I have issued several warnings to inform the public that the use of a fake vaccine card with the intent to defraud another person or entity is a crime in New York State. This defendant is accused of knowingly and intentionally selling falsified vaccination cards to others and profiting from their misuse. I am committed to keeping the residents of Erie County safe, which includes upholding laws related to public health. If you are caught using or selling these fake vaccine cards, you will be prosecuted,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.
Heinrich is scheduled to return to court for a felony hearing in May. If convicted of the charge, she is facing a maximum of 7 years in prison.