The First Sentence for COVID-19 Certificate Forgery

Dangers of making and using forged certificates

20 August 2021

The First Sentence for COVID-19 Certificate Forgery

The first court sentence has been handed down for forging a COVID-19 test certificate—three years of probation.

At the start of 2021, a married unemployed woman raising a child and residing in the Volyn region started an illegal business. She printed COVID-19 certificates with the details of a lab named Medlab LLC on a printer, put a fake stamp and a signature of a non-existent doctor on them, took pictures of them, and sent these pictures to her clients via the Viber messenger. Between February and March, the woman forged over 40 documents and helped their owners do away with the necessity to self-isolate.

Upon identifying the fraudster, she was served a suspicion notice and sentenced three months later (under Part 5, Article 27—Part 3, Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Given that the woman admitted her guilt prior to the court hearing, the sentence was reduced to three years of probation with the minimum probation term of one year and the requirement to periodically report to the probation authority and notify it if the place of residence, work, or study changes. On top of that, she had to pay UAH 4,020 of court costs.

The same Article 358 establishes liability for not only making but also using a document that is known to be forged. It means that a person caught with a forged certificate becomes a defendant in a criminal case. Depending on the court ruling, they can be punished with the following:

  • A fine of up to UAH 850
  • An arrest for up to six months
  • A personal restraint for up to two years.

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