Columbus City Attorney To Prosecute Coronavirus Fakers


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says suspects who try to fake a case of coronavirus, to get out of being arrested, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Klein updating the situation on Wednesday, after a suspect in a vehicle break-in from over the weekend tried to claim they were diagnosed with COVID-19.

That prompted responding Police officers to use their limited supply of personal protective equipment, and continue to practice social distancing.

When the subject fell to the ground coughing, that prompted an unnecessary call to the scene by Columbus firefighters, who later determined the subject did not have coronavirus.

Klein says charges for faking a diagnosis include falsification, which is a 1st-degree misdemeanor, and inducing panic, which can be either a 1st-degree misdemeanor of a 4th-degree felony.

Klein added, “The overwhelming majority of Columbus residents are taking the threat of coronavirus seriously and doing their part to keep our community safe. However, there have been a few instances where people have exploited this pandemic to avoid arrest.”