The Perfect Enemy | Nurse in SC faces prison time for providing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, U.S. Attorney’s Office says
July 6, 2022

Nurse in SC faces prison time for providing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, U.S. Attorney’s Office says

Nurse in SC faces prison time for providing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, U.S. Attorney’s Office says  WYFF4 GreenvilleView Full Coverage on Google News

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A nursing director in South Carolina is facing prison time for providing false COVID-19 vaccine cards to people, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Tammy Hutson McDonald, 53, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about the production of fraudulent COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards.Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that on Sept. 13, 2021, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control received a complaint that McDonald, who was then director of nursing at a PruittHealth skilled nursing facility, was providing false COVID-19 vaccine cards to others.Further investigation revealed that on June 20, 2021, McDonald provided vaccination cards for various individuals. The investigation showed McDonald filled out the cards and was aware that the individuals to whom she provided vaccine cards did not, in fact, receive the vaccine as noted on the cards. One of the individuals who procured a card needed a replacement. On July 28, 2021, McDonald filled out another card for him although she was aware that he had not received the vaccine as noted on his card, investigators said. On Oct. 22, 2021, federal agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said they spoke to McDonald at work. Even after being told she was talking to federal agents, and that lying to a federal agent was a crime, they said she insisted she had never given anyone a false or incorrect vaccine card. Evidence presented to the Court showed that this was a materially false statement, and McDonald knew the statement was false, as she provided fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards to others.“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 news release. “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.””Vaccination record cards play an integral part in efforts to address the public health emergency,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles, with HHS-OIG. “HHS-OIG will continue to hold accountable any providers who undermine public health measures and put the health of others at risk by distributing these cards to unvaccinated individuals.”“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.”McDonald faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. She also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of supervision to follow any term of imprisonment. Senior United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten accepted the guilty plea and will sentence McDonald on Sept. 20, 2022, after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

A nursing director in South Carolina is facing prison time for providing false COVID-19 vaccine cards to people, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tammy Hutson McDonald, 53, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about the production of fraudulent COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards.

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Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that on Sept. 13, 2021, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control received a complaint that McDonald, who was then director of nursing at a PruittHealth skilled nursing facility, was providing false COVID-19 vaccine cards to others.

Further investigation revealed that on June 20, 2021, McDonald provided vaccination cards for various individuals. The investigation showed McDonald filled out the cards and was aware that the individuals to whom she provided vaccine cards did not, in fact, receive the vaccine as noted on the cards. One of the individuals who procured a card needed a replacement. On July 28, 2021, McDonald filled out another card for him although she was aware that he had not received the vaccine as noted on his card, investigators said.

On Oct. 22, 2021, federal agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said they spoke to McDonald at work.

Even after being told she was talking to federal agents, and that lying to a federal agent was a crime, they said she insisted she had never given anyone a false or incorrect vaccine card.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that this was a materially false statement, and McDonald knew the statement was false, as she provided fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards to others.

“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 news release. “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.”

“Vaccination record cards play an integral part in efforts to address the public health emergency,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles, with HHS-OIG. “HHS-OIG will continue to hold accountable any providers who undermine public health measures and put the health of others at risk by distributing these cards to unvaccinated individuals.”

“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.”

McDonald faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

She also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of supervision to follow any term of imprisonment.

Senior United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten accepted the guilty plea and will sentence McDonald on Sept. 20, 2022, after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.