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The former director of nursing in South Carolina pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to federal agents about providing fake data. COVID-19 Immunization Cards.
Tammy Hudson McDonald, who worked at PruittHealth Skilled Nursing Facility last summer, filled out cards for people she knew were not getting the vaccine, according to an investigation by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI and South Carolina law enforcement.
When authorities confronted McDonald after they were alerted to the fake cards last September, she told federal agents, contrary to evidence, that she had never given the fake vaccine card to anyone. Ministry of Justice says in a press release.
“Defendant created a direct risk to South Carolina residents by creating false vaccine documents for others to use, and she aggravated that wrongdoing by lying to federal agents,” U.S. Attorney Cory F. Ellis said in a statement. “As a registered nurse, she knew better and owed more to her community.”
Her lawyer, Jim Griffin, told The Associated Press that McDonald’s agreed to cooperate and took responsibility for her behavior. Griffin said she provided fake cards to several family members at a Father’s Day meeting and her relatives were not charged.
In December, Griffin told a US judge that McDonald had made one or two false vaccination cards for a relative in University of South Carolina who has “anti-vaccine beliefs”. According to Griffin, McDonald’s was vaccinated and didn’t get paid for the fake cards.
McDonald, 53, from Colombia, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on September 20.