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The FBI has launched an investigation into three Vermont State Troopers after they were accused of creating fake coronavirus vaccination cards.
Used to indicate that someone has received the coronavirus vaccine and is therefore better protected against the virus, the cards have become a point of contention for some as a number of businesses require them in order to serve or welcome customers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Details of the vaccine cards allegedly created by officers Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel have not been released due to the ongoing investigation by the FBI, however it is reported other officers alerted their supervisors to the situation.
After supervisors became aware of what was happening, officials informed the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Burlington, CBS News reports.
Following the allegations, Sommers and Witkowski resigned on August 10 and Pfindel resigned on September 3, after the Department of Public Safety completed its investigation.
Vermont State Police Director Colonel Matthew Birmingham responded to the accusations in a statement, in which he said they involved ‘an extraordinary level of misconduct – a criminal violation of the law.’
I could not be more upset and disappointed. If these allegations are proved to be true, it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19.
Birmingham, who described himself as being ’embarrassed’ about the situation, went on to say the allegations had tarnished the reputation of the police department. He commented: ‘The alleged criminal conduct from these troopers does not represent the values and actions of the dedicated men and women of the Vermont State Police’.
Vermont Public Safety commissioner Michael Schirling said officials ‘do not believe there is anything more the state police could have done to prevent this from occurring’, stressing troopers raised the allegations internally as soon as they became aware of the situation.
He said ‘commanders took swift and decisive action to hold these individuals accountable and report this matter to federal authorities’.
The alleged participation of the troopers in creating fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards may reportedly be a violation of federal law.
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