Former NBA player Lazar Hayward arrested in Hawaii over alleged fake COVID test results
Unsworn falsification of documents is a misdemeanor in Hawaii
Former NBA player Lazar Hayward was arrested last week for trying to enter the state of Hawaii with what authorities claim were fake COVID-19 test results.
Hayward and a woman named Raven Randle allegedly uploaded the documents to the state’s Safe Travels portal, which tracks the virus and visitors to the state. Unvaccinated individuals are required to present a negative test result or quarantine for 10 days.
Upon Hayward and Randle’s arrival in Kauai from Los Angeles, they were arrested, processed, and sent back to California. The state’s Department of the Attorney General reviewed the test results, which were flagged by the system before the pair were arrested. They have been charged with unsworn falsification of the documents.
Unsworn falsification is a misdemeanor in Hawaii, punishable by less than a year in jail or a possible fine.
Hayward was a first-round draft pick who spent three seasons in the NBA. He was drafted by the Washington Wizards, then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hayward played his final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In an unrelated incident, the U.S. Justice Department announced a nationwide action against COVID-19 healthcare fraud. After a six-week investigation, criminal charges were filed in September against 138 people in 31 federal districts across the country. That investigation involved small healthcare providers and testing centers that were billing the government for COVID tests that they never administered.
A report from the Consumer Trade Commission in August of this year advised Americans not to falsify vaccination results, noting that the offense is punishable by law. Additionally, they noted that illegal entities providing this service are often doing other scams, such as identity theft.
“The only legitimate way to get proof that you’re vaccinated — or that you test negative — is to GET vaccinated or to TEST negative,” they noted. “If you lose that proof, check with your state health department or the place you got vaccinated to find out how you might be able to get a replacement.”
Crimes of unsworn falsification of COVID test results are reported to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI.
European law enforcement authority, Europol, told CNBC that “As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the Covid-19 situation, it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail.” Adding, “Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents.”
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