State Watch

South Carolina nurse charged for allegedly making fake vaccine cards

A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a South Carolina nurse on two counts of producing fake vaccine cards, the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina announced.

Tammy McDonald, 53, of Columbia, was also charged with lying to federal investigators, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office

McDonald was arraigned Friday and released on a $10,000 bond.

She faces up to 15 years in prison for both counts of producing fake vaccine cards and up to five years for lying to investigators. 

The charges against McDonald are the first in the state, according to the press release. 

Derrick Jackson, special agent in charge with Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, said his office remains "committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate individuals who are exploiting the pandemic and people for personal gain."

"The indictment alleges McDonald defrauded and endangered the public by creating and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards," he said in a statement. "Engaging in such illegal activities undermines the ongoing pandemic response efforts."

McDonald was the director of nursing services at a hospital in Columbia. She allegedly created the fake vaccine cards on days in June and July, distributing them to patients she knew were not vaccinated, according to the indictment.

McDonald was questioned by federal investigators on Oct. 22, during which allegedly she lied about producing the cards.

In May, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to combat fraudulent activity during the pandemic. The Justice Department also charged a Baltimore man on Friday for allegedly distributing fake vaccine cards.

As of March, there were 1,200 sellers of fake vaccine cards in the U.S. and Europe, according to Check Point Software Technologies, a global security firm investigating the amount of fraudulent activity during the pandemic.

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