CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Cheektowaga woman appeared in Cheektowaga Town Court Monday for a felony hearing, after she was arraigned in Clarence Town Court on March 11, on a forgery charge. She is said to have attempted to sell fake vaccine cards to an undercover investigator.
Kaiyah Heinrich, 24, was charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. The NYS Department of Health reportedly received information that Heinrich was selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards over Facebook, which spurred the investigation.
On March 10, Heinrich allegedly sold two fake cards to an undercover investigator on Thruway Plaza Drive in Cheektowaga. Her felony hearing was adjourned and she is set to return to court on May 17 at 9 a.m., where she faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted. She remains released on her own recognizance.
This is the second case to be prosecuted in Erie County regarding the Truth in Vaccination legislation passed in December, which specifies that a vaccination card is considered a “written instrument,” under NYS penal laws related to fraud. The first case was with regard to a West Seneca couple that allegedly used fake vaccination cards to get into a Bills game, which remains pending in Orchard Park Town Court.
“I have issued several warnings to inform 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,” Erie County DA John Flynn said. “This defendant is accused of knowingly and intentionally selling falsified vaccination cards to others and profiting from their misuse. I am committed to keeping the residents of Erie County safe, which includes upholding laws related to public health. If you are caught using or selling these fake vaccine cards, you will be prosecuted.”