Image of Covid-19 vaccination record card with vials and syringe.
Image credit: Getty Images, Bill Oxford

The former director of nursing at a South Carolina skilled nursing facility has pleaded guilty in a fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine card case, the Department of Justice announced Thursday. 

Tammy Hutson McDonald, 53, of Columbia, SC, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about producing fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards. It’s the state’s first conviction related to fake vaccine cards. 

The conviction stems from a September 2021 complaint that McDonald, while working as a nursing home DON, was providing false vaccine cards to others. Investigators found that in multiple incidents in June and July 2021 McDonald filled out the cards and was aware that the individuals who received them had not gotten the vaccine, the DOJ said. 

Federal investigators later met with McDonald in October 2021 to question her about the complaints. 

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

“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 DOJ added. 

McDonald faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of probation following a prison term. She’s set to be sentenced Sept. 20. 

“As a registered nurse, she knew better and owed more to her community,” U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis said in a statement. “This felony conviction showcases that this office will continue to prosecute fraud related to the Coronavirus in all its forms.”