Woman charged over fake virus certificates

·1-min read

A Queensland woman has been charged after allegedly pretending to be a medical practitioner and issuing about 600 fake medical exemption certificates to get around coronavirus rules.

The counterfeit certificates said the holder was exempt from undergoing COVID-19 testing, getting a vaccine and wearing a mask.

The woman, 45, from Labrador on the Gold Coast, was charged on Wednesday with five counts of masquerading as a health practitioner.

She's the first person in Queensland to be charged with this offence.

Police say the woman holds no registered doctorate with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and believes she was entitled to issue the certificates.

"She's indicating from what I've read that her qualifications and her interpretation of the legislation allows her too," Detective Acting Inspector Damien Powell said.

"However that's contrary to the view of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) who are the registering body."

The woman has informed police that she has a doctorate, but not in medicine and could face a fine of $10,000 as well as a provision for jail time under the AHPRA offences.

Those people found to have used the documents under false pretences, knowing she was not authorised to issue them, could also face prosecution in relation to fraud offences.

Police say payments were made to the woman via bank transfer and via cash, and that she doesn't believe she's done anything wrong.

"This is not a matter to be treated lightly, and we're taking it extremely seriously," Det Powell added.

The woman is due to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday, October 28.

An investigation into the fake certificates is continuing.

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