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Mar 26, 2020

First Person Charged for Spreading Fake News, LOL

Erika Vargas

Twenty-five-year-old Erika Vargas, a resident of Orange Walk Town, is the first person on record to be charged with spreading false news.  The arraignment follows a stern warning from Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte on Wednesday in respect of the dissemination of false information regarding COVID-19.   In a social media post on her Facebook account on Monday, Vargas wrote that an entire family in San Jose Village, Orange Walk District had tested positive for coronavirus and that a confirmation would have been made on Tuesday.  That information was furthest from the truth, however, the rumor took on a life of its own when it began circulating on that platform.  Earlier today, Vargas, a shelf attendant, was arrested and charged for the offense of Spreading False News.  During the senate meeting on Wednesday, AG Peyrefitte reminded social media users that propagating fake news is indeed a crime punishable by law.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“I also want to make a plea and this will be the final public plea because after this we will invoke the Summary Jurisdiction Offenses Act, want to make a plea to people, do not spread false rumors nor do not give false information to create panic within our society.  If you do so, we will find you and you will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law which includes fine and confinement in prison.  Listen to what both the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister have to say, they will give the directions as to the way we’re going for the country.  But desist, please desist from giving fake news just to hype up and excite people who are already legitimately concerned and scared.  Thank you, Mr. President.”

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