New York State, Erie County, and the Buffalo Bills announced in September that all guests at Highmark Stadium would need to present proof of vaccination to enter events. While the enforcement was spotty at best, and the vaccine mandate has been lifted, at least one couple was charged with violating the rules following the Bills’ Wild Card win over the New England Patriots.
Amber and Michael Naab of West Seneca were arraigned in late January in Orchard Park Town Court. On Tuesday they pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, according to Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
Each were initially charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. That charge is a Class D felony, which carries a maximum seven-year prison sentence, but Flynn said all along he wasn’t going to send them to prison.
Orchard Park Town Justice Jorge S. DeRosas’s punishment fell well short of jail time. Each were granted conditional discharges and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. They needed to pay a $125 fine plus a $125 surcharge.
The pair also cannot attend games at Highmark Stadium. When the new stadium is built, they can’t buy season tickets.
Both Naabs were on the team’s radar, per the district attorney in January, because they had previously posted on social media about using fake vaccination cards to enter the game. Flynn said the pair allegedly obtained a blank Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine card, filled in their names and date of birth, entered a fake Pfizer lot number, and put down that they were vaccinated at a local CVS pharmacy.
During the third quarter of the Wild Card game, the couple was approached in their seats by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and members of the team. After questioning, the team elected to prosecute.
“It’s a slap in the face to the 70,000 others who did the right thing,” Flynn said in January, while noting he’s sure they aren’t the only people who attended the game with a forgery. “I hate to be the guy that says ‘I need to send a message.’ I don’t like being that guy, but you can’t do this. There’s a law, we got laws on the books.”