Modified: January 27, 2022 12:57pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 34-year-old Michael P. Naab and 37-year-old Amber L. Naab of West Seneca were arraigned yesterday evening before Orchard Park Town Justice Jorge S. DeRosas. Both defendants are charged with one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony).
The defendants are accused of intentionally presenting a falsified COVID-19 vaccination card at Highmark Stadium for the Buffalo Bills game on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The defendants, with the intent to defraud, are accused of presenting the forged written instrument to enter to the stadium in violation of the vaccination policy.
This is the first case to be prosecuted in Erie County following the passage of the “Truth in Vaccination” legislation that went into effect immediately after it was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 22, 2021. The bill specifies that a vaccination card is considered a “written instrument” under New York State penal laws related to fraud.
“This legislation specifically states that a vaccination card is a written instrument, which makes it clear that presenting a fake vaccine card, with the intent to defraud another person or entity, is a crime. I am committed to keeping the residents of Erie County safe, which includes upholding laws related to public health. 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. As I have stated before, if you present a fake vaccine card, you will be prosecuted,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
Both defendants are scheduled to return on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. for a felony hearing. They were released on their own recognizance as the charge is a non-qualifying offense for bail.
If convicted of the charge, both defendants face a maximum of 7 years in prison.
DA Flynn commends the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Erie County Department of Health, New York State Department of Health and the Buffalo Bills for their work in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief Candace K. Vogel and Assistant District Attorney Gary Ertel of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions (SIP) Unit.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
New Yorkers can report vaccine-related fraud by calling 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) or emailing STOPVAXFRAUD@health.ny.gov.