2 travelers who used fake vaccine cards to enter Canada from U.S. fined nearly $16,000

Two airline passengers entering Canada from the United States were fined nearly $16,000 each for submitting fake vaccination cards and Covid-19 test results, officials said.

The passengers also failed to stay at government-authorized accommodations, as is also required by the country’s government, Canada’s public health agency said Friday.

The passengers, who were not identified in a news release, traveled to Toronto two weeks ago and were Canadian citizens, Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette told NBC News. They mark the first case of travelers using fake vaccination documents to enter the country, Durette said.

They were fined nearly $20,000 Canadian dollars, or about $16,000 in U.S. dollars. Durette declined to release other information about them.

Nor did Durette say how the fraudulent documents were identified. In March, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned of fake vaccine cards circulating on social media sites as instructions on how to produce them appeared on forums frequented by anti-vaxxers and supporters of former President Donald Trump.

In some cases, templates were downloaded from state health department websites and users gave specific instructions on how to create them, including what thickness of card stock to use.

In July, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of a naturopathic doctor in Northern California who allegedly gave patients false vaccine cards and homeopathic remedies that she said would boost the body’s immune response to the disease.

According to a complaint filed in Northern California federal district court, the cards allegedly provided by the doctor, Juli Mazi, falsely said that patients had been inoculated with the Moderna vaccine.

Mazi was charged with wire fraud and making false statement related to health care. Her lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

And in May, a California bar owner was arrested charged with forging government documents after allegedly selling fake vaccination cards, the San Joaquin Country District Attorney announced.

Undercover agents were able to buy the fraudulent cards multiple times at the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, about 40 miles southeast of Sacramento, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said.

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