According to Hawaii court documents, a 24-year-old Illinois woman submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to visit Hawaii with a glaring spelling error that led to her arrest: Moderna was spelt “Maderna.” To avoid Hawaii’s 10-day travelling quarantine, she uploaded a vaccination card to the state’s Safe Travels programme and arrived in Honolulu on a Southwest Airlines flight on Aug. 23, according to the documents.
“Airport screeners found suspicious errors … such as Moderna was spelled wrong and that her home was in Illinois, but her shot was taken at Delaware,” a special agent with the Hawaii attorney general’s investigation division, wrote in an email to a Delaware official who confirmed there was no record vaccination record for the woman under her name and birth date.
She was charged with two misdemeanour counts of violating Hawaii’s emergency rules in order to control COVID-19 spread. According to the public defender’s office, she had been held in custody on $2,000 bail until a judge released her at a hearing on Wednesday and scheduled another hearing in three weeks.
State Public Defender James Tabe, whose office represented her at this week’s hearings, declined to comment on her case, noting that it’s unclear whether she’ll hire her own attorney or apply to have a public defender represent her.
The voicemail box at the number listed in court documents for her was full on Wednesday. She did not respond immediately to a text message from The Associated Press.
According to court documents, in addition to the suspicious card, authorities discovered that the travel information she provided indicated she would be staying at a Waikiki Holiday Inn but did not include a reservation number or return flight information.
The hotel’s assistant manager confirmed that she did not have a reservation. According to the court document, the special agent with the Hawaii attorney tried to call the number she listed, but her voicemail was full. He stated that he emailed her but did not receive a response.
He also claimed to have searched for her on Facebook and discovered a photo of her with a “distinctive tattoo on her left hip area.”
According to the court document, the tattoo assisted authorities in locating her at a Southwest Airlines counter when she attempted to leave Honolulu on Aug. 28. She showed the agent her ID and vaccination card, and he informed her that she was being arrested for falsifying vaccination documents.
Other visitors to Hawaii have been arrested for possessing forged vaccination cards, including a father and son from California who appeared in court via Zoom and waived their right to a jury trial.
By Joe Cusmano