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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Vaccine Card Forgery Could Land Antonio Brown In Federal Trouble


Antonio Brown was in trouble again this past season with the NFL, this time for forging his COVID vaccination card. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, believing that Brown had been fully vaccinated, had to live without their star receiver for three games before his bizarre (and now famous) exit during his final performance. For all his troubles, Brown himself could still face federal charges related to the alleged forgery, as forging official documents is a federal crime. In this article, we’ll discuss forging vaccine cards and how that is prosecuted.

Can you go to jail for having a forged vaccine card? 

Yes. Forgery can be a federal offense and it is often charged under the fraud statute. It is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and is considered a felony under the law. However, the federal government has mostly not been charging individuals with fake vaccine cards with felonies. Instead, they have been targeting the individuals who produce, manufacture, and distribute fake vaccine cards for the general public.

Their cases are quite sad. These individuals made a few hundred dollars selling vaccine cards for $10 a pop, sometimes on eBay auctions. They now face substantial criminal penalties, legal fees, fines, and prison time for a payday of less than $1,000. So, if you’re going to commit federal fraud and forgery, there are much more lucrative ways to do it other than distributing fake vaccine cards. In the end, your payday will not scratch the surface of your legal fees – making this crime one of the biggest losing investments you can imagine alongside the fabled drug courier.

Meanwhile, Florida is considering passing a state law that makes having a forged vaccine card a felony. First-time offenders would be subject to a fine of at least $1,000. Other states have passed similar legislation. Federal law already prevents individuals from forging official documents.

Presenting a forged vaccine card 

Presenting a forged vaccine card is a separate crime. Forging the card is another crime. Making forged cards is still another crime. When you present a forged vaccine card for official purposes, you are “uttering” a forged document. In other words, it’s a type of fraud. While the state would still have to prove that you knew the card was fake, they can always cross-reference your medical charts to show whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. In other words, it doesn’t take them that much effort to prove a forgery.

However, most people present their cards at sporting events, restaurants, or other civilian entertainment spaces where the checkers would not be expected to cross-reference medical charts. So, the fake vaccine card does have some utility. There’s just a risk involved with carrying around with you, and a greater risk of using it fraudulently.

Talk to a Tampa Federal Defense Attorney 

The Tampa criminal lawyers at the Matassini Law Firm represent clients charged with criminal offenses by the federal government. Call today to schedule an appointment and we can start discussing your options immediately.


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