Three Vermont state troopers have resigned after being accused of creating fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, state police announced on Tuesday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Vermont police said the three former troopers are suspected of having “varying roles” in creating false Covid-19 vaccine cards.
“Based on an initial internal review, we do not believe there is anything more the state police could have done to prevent this occurring. As soon as other troopers became aware of this situation, they raised the allegations internally,” said the Vermont public safety commissioner, Michael Schirling.
Shawn Sommers and Raymond Witkowski resigned on 10 August after a colleague raised suspicions about the alleged fraud to supervisors. A few weeks later, David Pfindel resigned on 3 September after Vermont’s department of public safety completed its investigation into the matter.
Col Matthew Birmingham, director of the Vermont state police, condemned the troopers’ actions, saying, “I’m embarrassed that this situation has occurred and know that it has tarnished the reputation of the Vermont state police. That said, the alleged criminal conduct from these troopers does not represent the values and actions of the dedicated and women of the Vermont state police.”
The state police was unable to announce the troopers’ resignation before Tuesday or provide additional case details due to an ongoing investigation by the FBI. It remains unclear why and for whom the troopers allegedly fabricated the cards.
In addition to the FBI, the matter has been referred to the US attorney’s office in Burlington.
As pandemic restrictions get lifted, fraudulent vaccination cards are increasingly emerging across the US, as some unvaccinated people try to evade vaccine proof requirements to enter public spaces such as concerts, restaurants and schools.
Last month, US Customs and Border Protection announced that it has seized more than 3,000 fake vaccination cards this year in Memphis, with officers intercepting shipments of the counterfeit documents every night.