WEST SENECA, NY – A police officer with West Seneca Police Department in New York has been arraigned – along with a second individual – in connection with a fake COVID-19 vaccination card scheme, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s office.
Officer Paul Daley, 40, and Kurt Surprenant, 29, where both charged on Friday, October 21 with one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree – a Class “D” felony – with District Attorney John J. Flynn accusing Daley of attempting to run a fake COVID-19 vaccination cards scheme.
Flynn claimed that the United States Department of Homeland Security had intercepted a package from China purportedly addressed to Surprenant containing fake COVID vaccination cards; officials then carried out a “controlled delivery” of the package, at which time they served the occupant with a search warrant.
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Daley – who Flynn said was off-duty at the time – had entered into an agreement with Surprenant to provide him with a falsified COVID-19 vaccination card, and had arranged the delivery; pending the outcome of his case, Daley is currently suspended from the police department without pay for his part in the alleged crime.
Surprenant and Daley are due back in West Seneca Town Court on Tuesday, October 25; if convicted, the duo each face a maximum sentence of 7 years each in prison.
According to West Seneca police officials, responding to reports of falsified vaccination cards is currently the number two crime that officers respond to, with traffic violations coming in first.
“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 cards with the intent to defraud, you will be prosecuted.”Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn