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‘AntiVaxMomma’ charged with selling forged vaccination cards on Instagram




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FINANCIAL CRIME

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She is anti-vax but pro-fraud, prosecutors say.

A New Jersey Instagram user who went by the handle @AntiVaxMomma has been charged with selling forged COVID-19 vaccination cards for $200, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.

Jasmine Clifford, 31, of Lyndhurst, N.J. also allegedly offered to connect her customers to her co-conspirator, Nadayza Barkley, 27, who worked in a medical office in Patchogue, N.Y. and would add their names to a New York State vaccine database for an additional $250, prosecutors said.

Additionally, 13 people were charged who purchased the fake vaccination cards and were identified as working in hospitals, nursing homes and other front-line settings, the DA’s office said.

In all, prosecutors say Clifford sold around 250 fake U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine cards through the scheme, with about 10 of her clients paying extra to Barkley to be added to the database. 

“The stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions,” said District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. “We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms. Making, selling, and purchasing forged vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences.”

In a statement, Facebook Inc., which owns Instagram, said administrators had taken Clifford’s page down in early August and would continue to “remove this content whenever we find it.”

“We prohibit anyone from buying or selling fake — or even genuine — COVID-19 vaccine cards,” the company said. “We will review any other accounts that might be doing the same thing.”

Clifford was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing and conspiracy. Barkley was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and conspiracy. The 13 others were charged with criminal possession of a false instrument.

Clifford and Barkley couldn’t immediately be reached and it wasn’t immediately clear if they had retained attorneys.

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