Norbert Chung, 57 and Trevor Chung, 19, were arrested on Aug. 8 at Daniel K. Inouye Airport in Honolulu, the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General said in a statement to news outlets.
The Chungs are accused of violating Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program, which forces visitors from the mainland to quarantine for 10 days unless they present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
The pair was arrested after authorities received a tip they were using fake vaccination cards, according to the state Department of the Attorney General.
“Attorney General investigators are committed to ensuring all such leads are investigated and thank the community for their assistance and support,” the department said in its statement. “Along those lines, the Department of the Attorney General will investigate and prosecute those who cheat the Safe Travels program, which was established to keep our islands safe.”
The Chungs were arraigned on Aug. 10. They could be fined up to $5,000 and sent to jail for up to a year if convicted.
The defendants could not be reached. Hawaii’s court system was undergoing maintenance early Saturday; it was unclear if the Chungs had retained a lawyer.
They are the first people charged in Hawaii with falsifying vaccine cards, authorities said.
A growing number of states, counties, and businesses are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter areas or establishments.
That has led to an explosion in fake vaccination cards, researchers said this month.
Several people have been arrested in California for allegedly falsifying their credentials.
A California bar owner was arrested in May after allegedly selling fake cards. Also in California, a licensed naturopathic doctor was taken into custody in July over an alleged scheme to distribute fake cards to customers. And that same month, Canadian authorities fined two passengers from a flight that originated in the United States close to $16,000 each for allegedly presenting false information related to proof of vaccination credentials.
People who buy, sell, or use fake documents that bear the seal of a federal agency can be sentenced up to five years in prison if convicted. COVID-19 vaccination cards have the logo of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on them. People who receive vaccines get the paper card.