Governor saddened troopers falsified vaccination playing cards | COVID-19
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Vermont Governor Phil Scott said Wednesday he was “incredibly disappointed” with allegations that three since resigned Vermont State Police officers were involved in a fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination card scheme.
Scott said he doesn’t think the resignations announced late Tuesday reflect the entire organization of the Vermont State Police.
“It’s just stupid to be completely frank,” Scott said during his weekly press conference. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The FBI is investigating the allegations and Vermont public safety officers are conducting a separate investigation.
Scott said his first question was “why?”
“It’s that simple, you get vaccinated, you get your card,” he said. “You don’t have to fabricate anything.”
On Tuesday, Vermont State Police announced that three state soldiers had resigned after discovering they were allegedly involved in a scheme to create fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Former soldiers Shawn Sommers and Raymond Witkowski resigned on August 10, the day after another soldier told superiors about the alleged plan. Former soldier David Pffindel resigned on September 3 after further investigations, according to a state police press release.
Sommers and Witkowski both joined the Vermont State Police in July 2016. Pffindel was hired in January 2014, the police said.
All three soldiers had connections with Shaftsbury Barracks in southwest Vermont.
It was not initially possible to determine whether the three men had lawyers. An email to the Vermont Troopers Association was not returned immediately on Wednesday.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said Wednesday there was no evidence that other soldiers or government officials were involved in the scheme, but the FBI is leading the investigation.
Schirling said the decision to publish the details of the case was made earlier than officials would like because they received a media question about the case.
“Otherwise we wouldn’t make the information public at this stage either because, as is typical of any federal investigation, the government has an interest in maintaining the continuity of the investigation by not making it public until it is completed,” he said .
Officials have not publicly described the details of the alleged plan.
In the original Tuesday release, Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of Vermont State Police, said the “allegations in this case involve an exceptionally high level of misconduct – a criminal violation of the law.”
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