West Seneca Man and Off-Duty Police Officer Arraigned for Possession of Fake Covid-19 Vaccination Cards

Modified: October 21, 2022 4:01pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 29-year-old Kurt Surprenant of West Seneca was arraigned this morning before Hamburg Town Court Justice Carl W. Morgan, acting as a West Seneca Town Court Justice, on one count of Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices (Class “D” felony). His co-defendant, 40-year-old Paul Daley of West Seneca, was also arraigned today before Justice Morgan on one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony).

An investigation began after the United States Department of Homeland Security intercepted a package from China, allegedly addressed to Kurt Surprenant, that contained blank COVID-19 vaccination cards. Investigators conducted a controlled delivery of the package to the defendant’s address and obtained a search warrant for the home. The defendant is accused of possessing blank vaccination cards designed for use in forging a written instrument.

It is further alleged that during the course of the investigation, the defendant was found to have made an arrangement to obtain a falsified vaccination card from his friend Paul Daley. Daley is accused of knowingly providing a falsified COVID-19 vaccination card, with the intent to defraud, to Surprenant. Daley, a police officer who was off-duty at the time of the alleged crime, was suspended from the West Seneca Police Department following his arraignment today.

This is the third case to be prosecuted in Erie County following the passage of the “Truth in Vaccination” legislation that went into effect on December 22, 2021, which specifies that a vaccination card is considered a “written instrument” under New York State penal law on crimes related to fraud.

“I have issued numerous warnings to the public that the use of a fake vaccine card with the intent to defraud another person or entity is a crime in New York State. I am committed to keeping the residents of Erie County safe, which includes upholding laws related to public health. If you are caught making, possessing, selling or using these fake COVID-19 vaccine cards with the intent to defraud, you will be prosecuted,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

Surprenant and Daley are scheduled to return on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. in West Seneca Town Court for a felony hearing. Both remain released on their own recognizance as the charges are non-qualifying offenses for bail.

If convicted of the charge, Surprenant and Daley each face a maximum of 7 years in prison.

DA Flynn commends the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, New York State Department of Health Vaccination Complaint Investigation Team and Erie County Department of Health for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gary M. 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.