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Fake vaccine passports: the results of UPAC

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar22,2024

Nearly 500 reports of criminal offenses were issued in total, in addition to ten criminal indictments, indicates UPAC in its report of the operation.

Fake vaccine passports: the results of UPAC

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The vaccination passport was in effect from September 2021 to March 2022 in Quebec.

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The use of whistleblowers has enabled the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) of Quebec to uncover numerous linked fraudsters in recent years to the production of vaccine passports.

As explained by Martin Barabé, strategic advisor and coordinator at the UPAC Denunciation Management Center, during an annual conference on whistleblowers, it was an employee of the health network who launched the first alert in the fall of 2021, shortly after the implementation of the vaccination passport.

The Legault government had decided to tighten health controls due to the speed of spread of the virus, but anomalies were quickly detected within the network, indicating the existence of schemes to produce false vaccine proof.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">A wave of denunciations followed the publication of the first reports in 2021 revealing the existence of the phenomenon. At the height of the wave, UPAC said it received up to 100 denunciations in a single day.

In March 2023, the organization had received around 350, which required the close collaboration of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP).

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Various schemes have come to light, sometimes with the complicity of vaccination center employees, some of whom were part of networks that managed to pocket sums of up to $3,000 to provide the two proofs of vaccination required for the issuance of a VaxiCode.

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The VaxiCode application

A dedicated, full-time team of investigators worked together with the CISSS and CIUSSS to identify false patient registrations and to identify the authors as well as the people who benefited from it.

Only public office holders or health professionals involved in these schemes have faced criminal charges, given the risk of compromising the integrity of medical information.

Five people have admitted guilt and five other cases are before the courts.

The vast majority of those involved received reports of criminal offences, generally relating to the manufacture or sale of a counterfeit document, unauthorized use of a computer and breach of trust.

Approximately half of the 493 findings issued have already led to convictions.

Around ten criminal investigations remain under study as well as several hundred active investigations, cases under study by the DPCP and notifications of findings in progress for criminal offenses, specifies the report of the 'UPAC.

The vaccine passport was only in effect for seven months, from September 1, 2021 to March 14, 2022.

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  • Natasha Kumar

    By Natasha Kumar

    Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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