In but the latest in the growing trend of fake vaccination card schemes and busts nationwide, a woman in New Jersey who was known to clients as "AntiVaxMomma" - which she goes by on Instagram - has been charged by police with offering false documents, criminal possession of a forged instrument and conspiracy.
Police say she's known to have sold some 250 fake COVID-19 vaccine cards over the past months for about $200 each in the New York City area. Communications were reportedly mainly done via Instagram direct messages.
The scheme may have been one of the more elaborate ones uncovered of late, given that customers could offer $250 more for someone she was working with to enter the card buyer's name into a New York state vaccination database, according to ABC News. This would then grant the 'fake' card verification status if checked against state health systems.
New York state police had busted the pair by setting up a sting, which resulted in delivery of a fake vaxx card:
A New York state police investigator who became aware of the scam a few weeks later tested it by contacting Clifford to order a fake card and to be added to the state vaccine database, prosecutors said.
In July, the investigator said in court papers, he received a package containing a CDC COVID-19 vaccination card marked with the name and date of birth he provided and a cellphone screenshot showing that the information he provided had also been added to the state database.
Prosecutors said that among AntiVaxMomma's clients included staff working in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities who were attempting to dodge vaccine mandates for such facilities. It's also believed the recent public school teacher mandate to get a first shot by September 27 is further fueling the black market demand for fake vaccine documents.
Protip: if you are gonna run this scheme do not make your handle “AntiVaxMomma” https://t.co/yDZhbOsnwG— Duck Tale (@dakduffyj42) September 1, 2021
The arrested woman, Jasmine Clifford, was said to be working with Nadayza Barkley, the latter who had access to state databases as a staffer for a Long Island medical clinic.
The case could suggest an increasing sophistication in how forgery and fake schemes operate, particularly given the conspirators had access to state shot records and could manipulate them from the inside. It appears the main reason they got caught was due to how prominently the schemers advertised the service on Instagram.