Authorities have charged a Columbia, South Carolina, nursing director with making fake COVID-19 vaccination cards — a first-of-its-kind criminal prosecution in the state.
According to a press release from the District of South Carolina’s U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday, Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced that 53-year-old Tammy McDonald, the Director of Nursing Services at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, has been charged with two counts of producing fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and one count of lying to federal investigators about her role in making the records.
The former nursing director pleaded not guilty to the three charges and was granted $10,000 bond. She faces up to 15 years in prison for each count of producing fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and five years for lying to law enforcement.
The indictment states that McDonald personally filled out the fake cards in June and July for unvaccinated individuals and lied to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in October “by stating she did not have access to COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards and that she never produced a false or inaccurate vaccine card.”
Authorities say McDonald “defrauded and endangered the public by creating and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards” and undermined the “ongoing pandemic response efforts.”
“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,” DeHart said in a statement.
The first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards came to light in July after a California naturopathic doctorwas accused of falsifying COVID-19 vaccination cards and selling pellets she claimed without evidence would provide “lifetime immunity” to the disease.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, 41-year-old Juli A. Mazi was arrested on one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a news release. “Even worse, the defendant allegedly created counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and instructed her customers to falsely mark that they had received a vaccine, allowing them to circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease.”
We hope she loses her nursing license.