Man Charged with Falsifying Negative COVID-19 Test to Travel to V.I.

Henry Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. (File photo)
Henry Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. (File photo)

Law enforcement officers of the territory’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, assisted by Virgin Islands Port Authority police officers, at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, arrested 54-year-old Clifford H. Mattson of Annaly Estate and charged him with making fraudulent claims upon the government and sending or delivering false messages.

The charges came on the heels of an announcement by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice, warning residents against uploading falsified COVID-19 test results to the Department of Tourism’s travel portal.

According to police, evidence was found that Mattson uploaded falsified negative COVID-19 test results to the travel portal so he and his wife could board a flight from Miami to St. Croix. Mattson and his wife were intercepted at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, where they were taken into custody. Mattson told officers that his wife did not know that he falsified the documents, and she was not charged.

Bail for Mattson was set at $5,500, which he posted. He was released, pending his advice of rights hearing.

Police Commissioner Trevor A. Velinor applauded the teamwork between the Virgin Islands Department of Health, Virgin Islands Police Department, Virgin Islands Port Authority police force, Virgin Islands Department of Justice and the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force in organizing and executing the arrest.

“Employees from multiple government agencies worked on this investigation. Law enforcement officers will arrest individuals who violate the law by presenting fictitious and fake COVID-19 test results. The message is clear that travelers must get tested before entering our territory,” Velinor said.

Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George promised the Department of Justice would take relevant action.

“Upon the finding of probable cause by the V.I. Superior Court, the Office of the Attorney General will file the appropriate criminal charges,” she said.