Former Columbia nursing director pleads guilty in fake COVID vaccination card case

The United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice(MGN)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:37 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A former Columbia nursing director pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Tammy Hutson McDonald, 53, faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. This case is the first conviction in the District of South Carolina related to fraudulent vaccine cards.

On Sept. 13, 2021, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (SCDHEC) received a complaint that McDonald was providing false COVID-19 vaccination cards. At the time McDonald was the director of nursing at a PruittHealth nursing facility.

Investigators said on June 13, 2021, McDonald filled out multiple cards for people who hadn’t been vaccinated. One of the people involved ended up needing a replacement on July 28, 2021, which she filled out for them.

Agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the FBI visited McDonald on Oct. 22, 2021, at work. She told the agents that she had never given a false or incorrect vaccine card.

Evidence at court showed that statement was false. U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis said, “As a registered nurse, she knew better and owed more to her community. This felony conviction showcases that this office will continue to prosecute fraud related to the Coronavirus in all its forms.”

McDonald will be sentenced by the Senior United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten on Sept. 20, 2022.

“COVID-19 related fraud has severe consequences, no matter the chosen scheme,” said Susan Ferensic, the FBI Columbia field office’s Special Agent in Charge. “Our investigators will continue to work diligently to turn over every stone in search of the truth, and we will hold individuals accountable for their crimes.”

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