Note: Erie County District Attorney John Flynn held a press conference to address this case Wednesday morning. You can watch a replay in the video player above.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – A West Seneca couple that allegedly used fake vaccine cards to attend the Bills-Patriots playoff game at Highmark Stadium earlier is month is now facing felony charges for their actions.
Michael and Amber Naab, 34 and 37, were arraigned Tuesday night in Orchard Park Town Court and charged with one count each of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D felony.
The charges carry a maximum of 7 years in prison if convicted, but Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a press conference Wednesday that prison would “absolutely not” be on the table if the two are convicted.
“I would readily admit, this is not the Kennedy assassination,” Flynn said. “I readily admit this is not the crime of the century.
“At the end of the day,” he added, “I’m not going to jam them up. But I can’t just let them go.”
The Naabs gained entrance to the Jan. 15 game with their fake cards, the district attorney said. But they were already on the Bills’ radar due to their social media activity, Flynn added, and an anonymous tip led to an investigation during the Patriots game. They were identified and removed from their seats for questioning during the third quarter.
Without their social media posts, Flynn said the couple “probably” would have gotten away with using fake cards.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Amber Naab had no comment. Her attorney, Peter Todaro, declined to comment as well. Sunil Bakshi, the lawyer representing Michael Naab, also declined to comment on his client’s behalf.
While this is the first case to be prosecuted in Erie County since the passage of the Truth in Vaccination legislation that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law in December, Flynn said he would’ve had enough to charge the Naabs under the previous law, too.
Proof of vaccination was required at all Bills home games since September. It is also required at Sabres games and other large indoor events, such as performances at Shea’s Performing Arts Center and University at Buffalo basketball games.
The Naabs are scheduled to return for a felony hearing at at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The Bills won the Wild Card game against the Patriots, 47-17, scoring a touchdown on every possession. They were eliminated last week in the Divisional Round, falling to the Chiefs in overtime 42-36.
This is a developing news story, check back for updates.
* * *
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.