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Columbia-area nursing director could face decades in prison for alleged faked COVID vaccine cards

The former head nurse of a local nursing and rehab center is accused of producing fraudulent vaccine cards on at least two occasions and lying about it the feds.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A top healthcare worker in Columbia could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on charges handed over by a grand jury that suggest she created fraudulent COVID vaccine record cards.

The office of Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced on Thursday that a federal grand jury had returned a three-count indictment against 53-year-old Tammy McDonald of Columbia - two counts of producing fraudulent vaccination record cards and one count of lying to federal investigators about it.

“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 written statement.

McDonald, who is described in the district attorney's statement only as "the Director of Nursing Services at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Columbia" has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

However, prosecutors said she produced fraudulent vaccine cards on June 20 and July 28, 2021, and then lied to federal agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI when questioned about it.

The report claims that she told agents that she did not have access to COVID-19 vaccination record cards and never produced a false or inaccurate card.

However, the indictment claims these statements are false, alleging she personally filled out vaccine cards for people she knew had not received a COVID vaccine.

If convicted, DeHart's office said McDonald could face up to 15 years in prison for each count of producing fraudulent vaccine cards and five years in prison for lying to federal investigators.

“Producing fraudulent vaccination cards is a serious matter and is not taken lightly," said Susan Ferensic, special agent in charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office  "Anyone leading or participating in this type of activity should know there will be consequences.”

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