An out Democratic politician who claimed to be a doctor who treated Pulse victims admitted to investigators she made the whole thing up.
Elizabeth McCarthy confessed to Florida Department of Health officials that she fabricated claims of being a cardiologist who treated victims of the mass shooting inside a gay nightclub, according to Florida Politics.
In fact, she wasn't a doctor at all.
"It is a false statement. I just made it up," McCarthy said, according to an affidavit released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Health.
McCarthy previously worked as the legislative director for the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus.
She filed earlier this year to run for the Florida House of Representatives in the Orlando area. As part of her campaign, McCarthy claimed she worked at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, including the night of the June 2016 Pulse attack.
But last month, a Florida Politicsinvestigation into her credentials raised troubling questions. ORMC said it had no record of her working there as a cardiologist. She claimed to be employed at the time by Florida Heart Group of Orlando, but that company too had no record of her.
McCarthy had claimed to have earned a medical degree from the University of Central Florida in 2014, ostensibly transitioning from nursing to cardiology, but the school had no record of her earning a degree. The Florida Department of Health said her license as a nurse expired in 2005 and that she was never a licensed doctor.
She initially stood by her story.
"Yes, I was working that night. I removed 77 bullets out of 32 people, and helped with the triage," she told Florida Politics. "It is really sad that this has become such a big deal."
But she eventually dropped out of the state House race as the Department of Health investigated her claims.
She told investigators she was "portraying a life that wasn't true."
"I wanted to be somebody in the community, and I'm sorry," she said, according to the affidavit. "I'm sorry that I gave any impersonation. I knew it was wrong and I should have stopped -- by no means did I ever mean to put anybody in jeopardy."
The Florida agency is charging McCarthy with violating the state's unlicensed activity laws for lying about being a doctor. She has been fined $3,094.95 and has been forbidden from making the claim in the future.
McCarthy has a month to appeal the findings and seek a hearing on the matter.