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Thursday PM headlines: Utah man allegedly sold 100,000 fake vaccine cards

A picture of Sciotto, mostly off-camera, showing a table piled high with fake vaccination cards.
Department of Jusice
Sciotto with some of his fake vaccination cards.

Utah man allegedly sold over 100,000 fake vaccination cards

A Utah man has been charged in a COVID-19 scheme where he allegedly made and sold over 100,000 fake vaccination cards.

Nicholas Frank Sciotto of Weber County was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for allegedly operating an online business in 2021 that sold fake COVID-19 vaccine cards.

Officials believe he manufactured and sold at least 120,000 of them, mostly through Facebook at $10 each. The buyers were mostly located in New York City, which had strict COVID-19 policies in place.

He is being charged along with Kyle Blake Burbage, who allegedly bought the fake cards from Sciotto and then resold and distributed them in South Carolina.

Sciotto is expected to make his first court appearance in the case on Thursday afternoon in Utah.

Wildland firefighting crew honored for lifesaving attempts during helicopter crash

Members of the Twin Peaks wildland firefighting hand crew were honored Thursday for their lifesaving attempts during a helicopter crash last summer.

The crew had been assigned to the Moose Fire in eastern Idaho in late July when a helicopter crashed into the Salmon River nearby. The Type 2 Initial Attack hand crew was nearby, and several members rushed into the rushing river and tried to save the two pilots.

The USDA Forest Service honored them for their selfless acts at the Lone Peak Conservation Center Thursday with the Intermountain Region Regional Forester Award and the USDA Secretary Act of Valor Award, which is the highest honor in the USDA.

Utah individuals and entities awarded for above-and-beyond community support

Five Utah individuals and entities received the "Informed Decision Maker of the Year" Award for their work to help their community prosper, often behind the scenes. The awards are given annually by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, which chooses recipients based on core values like research integrity, accountability and collaboration.

Of the five awards, two were for individual people: Erin Litvack, Salt Lake County's deputy mayor and chief administrative officer, and Heidi Walker, the chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Chamber.

The other three were entities: Switchpoint Community Services, which provides temporary shelter and support for those experiencing homelessness in Washington County; Comunidades Unidas, which connects Latinx immigrants in Utah with social service programs; and Friends of Great Salt Lake, which works to increase public awareness and appreciation for a lake in an effort to preserve it.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute is part of the David Eccles School of Business at University of Utah, and does economic, demographic and public policy research.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.