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Buffalo Bills fans facing felony charges for allegedly using fake vaccination cards to attend playoff game, posting about it on social media

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A New York couple is facing felony charges after they allegedly used fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to attend a Buffalo Bills playoff game. Authorities said they were tipped off about the couple because the fans posted about getting into NFL games with fake vaccine cards.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said in a press conference on Wednesday that a husband and wife gained access to Highmark Stadium on Jan. 15 using fake vaccine cards to watch the playoff game between the Bills and the New England Patriots.

Michael Naab, 34, and Amber Naab, 37, were enjoying the Bills roughing up the Patriots up until the third quarter when officers with the Erie County Sheriff's Office escorted the couple out of their seats to interrogate them about their COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Flynn revealed that the Buffalo Bills organization was already aware of the couple from West Seneca, New York, after an anonymous tip. The Naabs purportedly posted messages about unlawfully attending Bills' home games in the past by using fake vaccine cards.

"Allegedly there had been some social media activity in previous games and someone saw it on social media and called the Buffalo Bills or called the health department and made an anonymous tip that these two individuals were allegedly posting that they had been gotten into Bills games prior," Flynn said.

Flynn noted that the couple "probably" would have gotten away with using the fake vaccination cards if it wasn't for the social media posts.

The Buffalo Bills website states:

All guests ages 5-11 will be required to present proof of at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccination. All guests age 12 and older are required to provide proof of complete vaccination. People are considered fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.

The football team emphasizes: "No exceptions will be made to the vaccine requirement."

The Bills have required proof of COVID-19 vaccination since September.

The Buffalo Bills reportedly told authorities that they wanted to prosecute the couple.

On Tuesday, the couple was arrested and charged with one count each of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. Both suspects pleaded not guilty, according to Kait Munro, a spokesperson for the DA's office.

If convicted, the charges carry a maximum of seven years in prison. However, Flynn said that prison sentence would "absolutely not" be on the table.

"I would readily admit, this is not the Kennedy assassination," Flynn said during the news conference. "I readily admit this is not the crime of the century."

"At the end of the day, I’m not going to jam them up," he continued. "But I can’t just let them go."

WIVB-TV reported, "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."

The Naabs are scheduled to return to court on Feb. 22 for a hearing.

The New York State Health Department thanked Erie County and the Bills.

"NYSDOH thanks Erie County and the @BuffaloBills for working with us to help stop the use of fake vaccination cards during a recent Buffalo Bills game, following the passage of @GovKathyHochul’s #TruthInVaccination legislation," the official Twitter account for the New York health agency tweeted.

New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Dec. 22 that made the use of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards a crime.

Legislation (S.4516-C/A.7536-B) adds clarification that a COVID Vaccination Card shall be considered a written instrument for purposes of the forgery statute which makes the falsification of COVID-19 Vaccination Cards a class D felony. It also creates a new E felony of computer tampering in the third degree for intentional entering, alteration or destruction of "computer material" regarding COVID-19 vaccine provisions. Individuals who misrepresent their vaccination history, not only jeopardize their own health, but the health of all those they come into contact with. This legislation ensures that as New York opens up and many businesses choose to rely on checking vaccination status, the falsification of vaccination records will not be tolerated.
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