Over the last month, 7 visitors have been arrested for allegedly using fake vaccine cards to enter state
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since Aug. 1, the state has arrested seven tourists for using fake vaccinations cards to enter Hawaii and bypass the state’s quarantine rules.
The latest include Aaliyah Sharif and Maurice Beavers, both of Georgia, who were arrested Tuesday.
Chloe Mrozak, of Illinois, was released from OCCC Wednesday. She’s accused of presenting a fake vaccination card that misspelled “Moderna.”
They all face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
“We are concerned and that’s why we’re using our resources ... to address every single case that comes to our attention,” said Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors.
“Fraud is easy with this type of document so we then have put into place measures to insure we can verify it and prosecute them when they are fraudulently altered.”
Fraud experts think the seven are just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s totally selfish on the part of people who are trying to do these things. And they should be prosecuted and held accountable for what they did,” said Randal Lee, a former judge and prosecutor and now a professor at Hawaii Pacific University.
Connors, meanwhile, said a stiff sentence will deter more fraud.
“The penalties are high, they are very high. Jail time is a big deal ― up to one year,” she said.
Quarantine watchdogs agree.
“It should not be just a slap on the wrist and a kiss on the okole. Let’s be realistic here. Let’s make it one they will remember,” said Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, of the Kapu Breakers Group.
But James Lewis, attorney for Norbert Chung and his son Trevor, believes his clients will probably not see prison time. The Chungs are charged with using a fake vaccine card on Aug. 8. After their arrest, he said the Chungs started to get harassed on social media and returned home five days later.
Lewis said his clients have since gotten tested and have been vaccinated.
“They regret this happened and they do want the public to know they did do the right thing after the fact,” Lewis said.
The Chungs’ next court date is on Oct. 11. Mrozak will be back in court on Sept. 22.
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