• Tammy McDonald allegedly made the fake vaccine cards in June and July
  • Federal investigators questioned her about the cards in October
  • She lied to them, saying she did not have access to the cards

In a first-of-its-kind criminal prosecution in the state of South Carolina, a nursing director has been charged with creating fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards.

Tammy McDonald, 53, from Columbia, was working at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center when she allegedly filled out fake cards for unvaccinated individuals. She then lied about it to law enforcement officers during an interrogation.

In a three-count indictment, McDonald was charged with two counts of producing fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and one count of lying to federal investigators about her role in the scheme, People reported. She pleaded guilty to all three charges and is facing up to 15 years in prison for each count of creating the fake records and another five for misleading law enforcement.

"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," Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart said as per the press release from the District of South Carolina's U.S. Attorney's Office.

McDonald allegedly created and distributed the fake vaccine cards in the months of June and July. She knew these cards were being handed out to individuals who had not received their jabs, The Hill said in a report.

Federal investigators interrogated the nursing director about the cards on Oct. 22. She lied to them and claimed that she did not have access to the vaccine cards. However, the indictment said her claim was false as she filled out the cards for the unvaccinated individuals personally, according to the press release.

"The indictment alleges McDonald defrauded and endangered the public by creating and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards," Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, said. "Engaging in such illegal activities undermines the ongoing pandemic response efforts. We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate individuals who are exploiting the pandemic and people for personal gain."

Susan Ferensic, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Columbia Field Office, also noted that law enforcement agencies have been working toward busting individuals involved in fraudulent activities related to COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, the FBI and its partners have been at the forefront of investigating crimes involving fraudulent COVID-19 schemes," she said. "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."

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