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Charges: Nurses made $1.5 million off fake vaccination cards

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Posted at 12:43 PM, Jan 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-29 12:43:20-05

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) -- Two nurses on Long Island are accused of forging COVID-19 vaccination cards and pocketing more than $1.5 million from the scheme, prosecutors and police said.

Julie DeVuono, the owner of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, and her employee, Marissa Urraro, are both charged with felony forgery, and DeVuono also is charged with offering a false instrument for filing. Both were arraigned Friday.

Messages seeking comment were left Saturday with their lawyers.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said DeVuono and Urraro handed out fake vaccination cards, charging $220 for adults and $85 for children. DeVuono, a nurse practitioner, and Urraro, a licensed practical nurse, entered the false information into the state's immunization database, he said.

Prosecutors said the nurses forged a fake card showing a vaccine was given to an undercover detective but never administered the vaccine to the detective.

Law enforcement officers searched DeVuono's home and said they seized about $900,000 in cash and a ledger showing profits of more than $1.5 million from the scheme, which began in November 2021.

"I hope this sends a message to others who are considering gaming the system that they will get caught and that we will enforce the law to the fullest extent," Tierney said in a statement with other officials.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison added, "As nurses, these two individuals should understand the importance of legitimate vaccination cards as we all work together to protect public health."