COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former nursing director pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to federal agents in South Carolina about providing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Tammy Hudson McDonald, who worked at a PruittHealth skilled nursing facility last summer, filled out cards for people she knew had not received the vaccine, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FBI, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
When authorities confronted McDonald after they were alerted to the fake cards last September, she told federal agents, contrary to the evidence, that she had never given anyone a falsified vaccine card, a Justice Department press release said.
“The Defendant created a direct risk to the people of South Carolina by creating false vaccine documents for others to use, and she compounded this wrongdoing by lying to federal agents,” U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis said in a statement. “As a registered nurse, she knew better and owed more to her community.”
Her attorney, Jim Griffin, told The Associated Press that McDonald has agreed to cooperate and accepted responsibility for her conduct. Griffin said she had provided the fake cards to a few family members at a Father's Day gathering and her relatives have not been charged.
Griffin told a U.S. magistrate in December that McDonald made one or two false vaccination cards for a relative at the University of South Carolina who has “anti-vaccination beliefs.” McDonald is vaccinated and received no money for the fraudulent cards, according to Griffin.
McDonald, 53, of Columbia, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at her sentencing on September 20.