The Covid certificate is becoming a kind of safe conduct to escape restrictions and confinements next Christmas, especially since several autonomous communities have decided to request it to access restaurants, hostels or gyms, and others are considering doing the same shortly. A circumstance that adds even more value to this document, and that has aroused the greed of counterfeiters, as we already have in Engadget.
But getting one of those false certificates can be very expensive for those who want to evade health controls, since, if discovered, they will incur the crime of falsifying an official document, typified in article 392 of the Penal Code, which foresees sentences of between 6 months and 3 years in prison and fines of between 6 and 12 months.
For this second sanction, the economic one, the judge in the case imposes the fine based on the defendant’s income, which makes it particularly difficult to establish a reference figure. However, the sources consulted by Engadget point out that, as a general rule, It usually starts from a penalty of 6 euros a day. Therefore, for a 6-month sentence, the amount that the sanctioned person would have to disburse would be just over 1,000 euros, and just over 2,000 if the sentence reaches the maximum time limit provided by the Penal Code, 12 months.
But, as we say, it is a reference base figure, so fines can be much higher whether the defendant’s income is medium or high. “As in any criminal area, it is not a closed answer, but must be subject to the discretion of the judge and the circumstances of each case,” explains to Xataka Marta Guzmán, ECIJA lawyer.
No known complaints
Despite the fact that the false Covid certificates have been circulating for at least a month on the network, there are still no known accusations, arrests or convictions for falsifying this type of documents. In fact, the Ministry of Health has confirmed to Xataka that, for the moment, it has not received any complaint for documentary falsehood in this regard.
Of what they have transcended numerous arrests is for falsifying PCR tests for, for example, making international trips or being able to access restaurants. In these cases, the authors and beneficiaries are also considered to have committed a crime of document falsification.
Thus, the newspaper El País reported in May of the arrest of a pharmacist from the Almeria town of El Ejido for selling falsified PCR to Moroccans so that they could travel to their country. Eldiario.es, for its part, counted at the end of last September that the Civil Guard had broken up a gang dedicated to counterfeiting and selling illegitimate PCR tests and arrested 14 of its members in Vitoria. And La Vanguardia echoed of a similar case, with two detainees, in Valencia.
And these are just some examples, but there is more. In none of the cases consulted by Engadget about the falsification of PCR tests was there information on the conviction, neither of jail nor of money, of those arrested.