The FBI is investigating three Vermont State Troopers for allegedly creating, state police said on Tuesday. All three officers have resigned.
The details of the vaccine card creation have not been released because the investigation is ongoing, but state police said that other troopers reported the card manufacturing to supervisors. Two of the officers, Shawn Sommers and Raymond Witkowski, resigned on August 10. The third, David Pfindel, did not resign until September 3, after the Department of Public Safety completed its investigation. The men are accused of having "varying roles" in the creation of the cards.
Police officials informed the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Burlington about the situation.
Vermont State Police Director Colonel Matthew Birmingham said in a statement that the accusations involve "an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law."
"I could not be more upset and disappointed," he said. "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 said he's "embarrassed" about the situation and that it has tarnished the department's reputation.
"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," Birmingham said.
Michael Schirling, Vermont Public Safety commissioner, said that officials "do not believe there is anything more the state police could have done to prevent this from occurring."
"As soon as other troopers became aware of this situation, they raised the allegations internally, and commanders took swift and decisive action to hold these individuals accountable and report this matter to federal authorities," Schirling said.
A recent report found the Delta variant is causing a massive increase in the sale of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. The lowered prices and rise in false advertisements is also making the documents more accessible globally, CBS News technology reporter Dan Patterson reported.