FBI investigating Vermont troopers accused of creating fake COVID vaccine cards

Local News

The FBI is investigating allegations that three Vermont State Police officers created fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

The troopers — Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel — have resigned, the agency said Tuesday.

The three are accused of having different roles in creating fake vaccine cards in violation of federal law.

Sommers and Witkowski submitted their resignations last month, a day after another trooper raised concerns about their conduct. Pfindel resigned Friday, following an additional investigation by the Department of Public Safety.

Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, said in a statement that the accusations “involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law.

“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,” he said.

Sommers and Witkowski joined the Vermont State Police in July 2016. Sommers worked at the Rutland Barracks until October 2017, when he transferred to Shaftsbury; he transferred back to Rutland in December 2020. Witkowski spent his career at the Shaftsbury Barracks.

Pfindel was hired in January 2014 and assigned to the St. Albans Barracks. He transferred to Shaftsbury in February 2016, became a detective trooper with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations in July 2016, and returned to work as a road trooper in April 2020.

Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said that as soon as the initial allegations against the three were raised “commanders took swift and decisive action to hold these individuals accountable and report this matter to federal authorities.

“Based on an initial internal review, we do not believe there is anything more the state police could have done to prevent this from occurring,” he said.

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