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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Warns Public About Fake Mask “Exemption” Documents

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. advised the public today that cards and other documents bearing the U.S. Department of Justice seal and claiming that individuals are exempt from mask requirements are fraudulent.

There have been reports of individuals in North Carolina and other parts of the country creating cards or other documents claiming that the bearer of the card is exempt from mask requirements.  Some versions of these cards threaten businesses or organizations with fines if they take steps to require patrons to wear masks.  In an effort to make the cards or documents appear legitimate, fraudsters may include the U.S. Department of Justice’s seal or include other threatening language. The Department of Justice is also aware of efforts by some to sell these fake cards to members of the public. 

The public should take note that the Department did not issue these documents, and the Department does not endorse them.  Furthermore, the Department has not granted permission for the use of its seal for this purpose, and misusing the Department seal is a federal crime.

"During this pandemic, false information—and fake cards like these—do a grave disservice to us all as we try to understand and follow the public-health measures our governments have ordered,” said U.S. Attorney Higdon.  “The public should be aware that these cards are fake and rest assured that we will investigate those who are knowingly creating or peddling these fraudulent cards to the unsuspecting public.”

A copy of this press release is located on our website.


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Updated July 8, 2020