New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a measure that makes falsifying COVID-19 vaccination cards a crime.
The measure (S.4516-C/A.7536-B), referred to as the “Truth in Vaccination” law, takes effect immediately.
The law makes it a class D felony to falsify COVID-19 vaccine cards, by amending the legal definition of a “written instrument” in the penal code to explicitly include a COVID-19 vaccine card that shows information such as the date a person received their vaccination, the type of vaccine, and its lot number.
Non-violent class D felonies are punishable from no jail with probation, to up to seven years in jail.
The new law also amends the penal law to create a crime under “computer tampering in the third degree”—a non-violent class E felony—for intentional entering, alteration or destruction of “computer material” related to COVID-19 vaccine records. Non-violent class E felonies are punishable by one and one-third years to four years in prison.
Sean Ross Collins, a spokesperson for state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who co-sponsored the legislation, told The Epoch Times that criminal possession of a forged instrument, which is a Class A Misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
A statement from Hochul’s office reads: “Individuals who misrepresent their vaccination history, not only jeopardize their own health, but the health of all those they come into contact with. This legislation ensures that as New York opens up and many businesses choose to rely on checking vaccination status, the falsification of vaccination records will not be tolerated.”
Hochul, a Democrat, said in a statement, “We need to make sure we learn the lessons of the pandemic so we don’t make the same mistakes twice. These new laws will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road.”
New York currently mandates COVID-19 vaccine proof for workers and customers in indoor venues including restaurants, gyms, and theaters.
Check Point Software Technologies, a global cybersecurity company, noted in September that fake vaccine card sales have drastically increased since President Joe Biden’s announcement of vaccine mandates.
On Sept. 9, Biden announced he would direct the Department of Labor to create a rule to have companies with over 100 employees mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing. On the same day, he signed an executive order to require all federal workers, government contractors, and their employees, to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with no option to opt out via COVID-19 testing.
A release from Kaplan’s office acknowledged there have been “numerous high profile reports of professional athletes, high-ranking NYPD officers, FDNY and sanitation workers, and medical facility staff attempting to circumvent public health and safety regulations through use of fake cards and digital passports.”
Correction: This article incorrectly stated the penalty for a non-violent Class E felony; it carries a penalty of one and one-third years to four years in prison. The Epoch Times regrets the error.