State to prosecute traveler who forged vaccination records, warns others of tough penalties

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Forging a vaccine card could land someone behind bars. It’s something officials say they’re seeing as travelers look to skirt the quarantine rules and costly tests.

“We do have a case where we had travelers forging vaccination records that we’ve filed charges against and certainly will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” said Gov. David Ige.

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The Attorney General’s office says screening vaccination documents is an ongoing effort. While there hasn’t been a spike in these types of incidents, there are always a few people who will try to cheat the system.

“We have been pretty aggressive in enforcing and prosecuting those violators that we’ve become aware of,” Gov. Ige said.

If convicted, the penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in prison. According to Honolulu police, in some situations, it could be considered tampering with a government record.

With COVID-19 surging on Hawaii Island, Mayor Mitch Roth says there’s no room for this kind of illegal activity.

“We’re seeing the need for a little more enforcement,” said Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth. “We’re meeting with the police as well as the prosecutor to make sure we’re taking this a lot more seriously moving forward. Especially when we’re in the situation like right now.”

In April, the Attorney General also put out a warning about websites selling fake or blank vaccine cards. Now, officials are sending another reminder that it’s illegal to buy or sell these cards.

Honolulu County Mayor Rick Blangiardi says, it’s time for people to keep each other’s safety in mind.

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“It’s more about behaviors than it is about our enforcement and hoping that people can come to a realization about what we owe each other in the spirit of community health,” said Mayor Blangiardi.

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