South Carolina nurse could face decades in prison for allegedly producing fake COVID vaccination cards

Federal prosecutors charged a South Carolina nursing director on Friday with producing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.

Fifty-three-year-old Tammy McDonald is also facing a charge of lying to investigators about the alleged fake cards.

She faces 15 years behind bars for each of the two charges of producing fake vaccination cards, as well as five years for the charge of lying to investigators.

A Department of Justice news release laid out the federal government’s allegations in more detail:

“The indictment alleges that McDonald, who worked as the Director of Nursing Services at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Columbia, produced the fraudulent vaccine cards on June 20, 2021, and July 28, 2021,” the release said.

“The indictment further alleges that on October 22, 2021, McDonald was questioned by federal agents with HHS and FBI and lied by stating she did not have access to COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards and that she never produced a false or inaccurate vaccine card,” it added.

“The indictment alleges this was false because she had personally filled out vaccine cards for individuals she knew had not received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

According to WACH, McDonald is accused of creating at least one of the fake cards for a relative who did not want to get vaccinated.

M. Rhett DeHart, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, released a statement condemning those who produce fake vaccination cards.

“Although the indictment speaks for itself, creating fraudulent or fake vaccine cards for those who have not been vaccinated poses a direct threat to the health of the people of South Carolina,” he said. “I want to thank our federal and state partners for their quick work in acting on this matter. This office will continue to prosecute fraud related to the Coronavirus in all its forms, and this case speaks to those efforts.”

Agents with Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the FBI Columbia Field Office, both of which worked the case, expressed similar sentiments.

“The indictment alleges McDonald defrauded and endangered the public by creating and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Engaging in such illegal activities undermines the ongoing pandemic response efforts,” said Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the HHS Office of Inspector General.

“We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate individuals who are exploiting the pandemic and people for personal gain,” he continued.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the FBI and its partners have been at the forefront of investigating crimes involving fraudulent COVID-19 schemes,” added Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic of the FBI Columbia Field Office. “Producing fraudulent vaccination cards is a serious matter and is not taken lightly. Anyone leading or participating in this type of activity should know there will be consequences.”