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Bills fans charged with using fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to attend playoff game vs. Patriots

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A Western New York couple is accused of using fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to attend the Buffalo Bills' playoff win over the New England Patriots.

Michael Naab, 34 and Amber Naab, 37 of West Seneca are charged with one count each of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. The Erie County District Attorney's Office filed the felony charges in Orchard Park Town Court on Wednesday, Buffalo's WKBW reports.

District Attorney John J. Flynn told reporters that the Bills learned of the couple's alleged plan via their social media posts, which were flagged by an anonymous tipster. According to Flynn, they posted about using forged cards to attend previous Bills games. Law enforcement officials questioned them during the third quarter of the Jan. 15 game.

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards await patients at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine clinic at La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S., November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
COVID-19 vaccine cards (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Fans 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated to attend Buffalo Bills home games in compliance with a statewide mandate. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law in December making the forgery of COVID-19 vaccine cards a crime. Use of forged vaccine cards is also a violation of federal law.

The Bills' web page explaining the team's vaccine policy issues a bold, all-caps warning against using forged vaccine cards:

"PLEASE NOTE THAT FORGERY OF A VACCINATION CARD IS A FELONY AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW."

According to the Erie County district attorney's office, this is the first time they've prosecuted the new law since Hochul signed it.

"These two defendants are accused of using a fake vaccine card to intentionally violate the rules at the stadium, potentially putting the health of other fans at risk," Flynn said, per per WKBW. "As I have stated before, if you present a fake vaccine card, you will be prosecuted."

The charge carries a maximum of seven years in prison. Flynn said that he doesn't intend to pursue a prison sentence if the Naabs are convicted, WIVB reports. The Bills have not publicly addressed the incident, and WIVB reports that the Naabs declined requests for comment through their lawyer.

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