US citizens remanded for uttering forged COVID-19 test certificates
Two United States citizens who were arrested at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with allegedly forged COVID-19 test certificates were charged on Wednesday and remanded to prison.
Jesse Vick, 24, and William Ross, 26, were charged with the offence of uttering a forged document.
They appeared before Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Diamond-Golden Grove Magistrate’s Court, where they pleaded not guilty to separate charges.
They were both remanded to prison, and the case was scheduled to continue on May 10.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) reported that the man and woman were outgoing passengers on a Caribbean Airlines flight – BW526 – destined for the JFK International Airport, New York.
However, while checking in, they handed over their Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results from the Sheriff Medical Centre, which showed that they tested negative. Upon examination, the documents were suspected to be forged. As such, contact was made with the Sheriff Medical Centre which proved that the documents were indeed forged.
The duo was immediately handed over to the Police and subsequently placed on station bail. Police did not release the photographs of Vick and Ross.
Last September, an alleged Ponzi schemer, Cuban national Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife Ateeka Ishmael were slapped with similar charges. It is alleged that on July 27 at Georgetown, they conspired with each other to forge COVID-19 test results to show that they had tested positive for the disease. They denied the charges and were released on $200,000 bail each by Senior Magistrate Leron Daly.
Meanwhile, in February 2021, an investigation was launched by the Health Ministry after reports surfaced that people were entering Guyana with fake COVID-19 PCR test results. Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony had stated: “We have had some reports – not so much of people going out, but we’ve had reports of people coming in where they were forging their PCR results. Because remember, we require PCR to come into Guyana.” At the time, the Minister, however, did not disclose which countries the reports came from. (G1)