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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Nov. 29, 2023

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Former East Wenatchee pharmacist reaches agreement in federal fraud case


SPOKANE — The East Wenatchee pharmacist fired and fined for providing false COVID-19 vaccine cards to two firefighters in 2021 reached an agreement Wednesday with prosecutors in federal court.

Federal prosecutors in U.S. Eastern District Court of Washington charged Geoffrey W. Reynolds June 21 with one count of making false statements relating to health care matters.

The charge carries with it no more than five years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine and a up to three years community custody, according to court documents.

But as part of his plea agreement signed Thursday, Reynolds will not face any prison time or financial fines. Instead, Reynolds agreed that prosecutors would have been able to prove his guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” and accepted responsibility for his conduct.

Reynolds said he provided fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards to at least two Douglas County Fire District 2 firefighters in September and October 2021.

He also admitted to falsifying COVID-19 vaccination data for the two firefighters when interviewed by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, according to court documents.

Another condition will require Reynolds to perform 100 hours of community service. If he violates any of the conditions of the agreement during the period of this deferral — 36 months or 48 months, if the agreement is extended — prosecutors will resume the charge against Reynolds.

Otherwise, prosecutors will dismiss the charge filed against Reynolds if the agreement is satisfied.

This is not the first time Reynolds actions in 2021 were scrutinized and fined. After an investigation by the state Department of Health Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, and as part of an agreement, Reynolds was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and undergo 10 hours of ethics training.

He was allowed to keep his pharmacist license.

The two firefighters accused of receiving the fraudulent cards — Joshua Bollinger and William Ellis — resigned Oct. 27, 2021 following an internal investigation, according to an East Wenatchee Police Department report.

To continue working, firefighters, law enforcement and health care workers were required by state mandate to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, 2021, or to receive a medical or religious exemption.

East Wenatchee police followed up on allegations that others in the area had similarly obtained fraudulent cards, as well. Further investigation found the reports unreliable.

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