Long Island nurses accused of making $1.5 million in fake vaccine card scheme

Two Long Island nurses are accused of raising more than $1.5 million by selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, according to the Suffol...


Two Long Island nurses are accused of raising more than $1.5 million by selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Nurses Julie DeVuono, owner of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, and Marissa Urraro, her employee, sold fake vaccination cards and entered false information into New York’s vaccination database, prosecutors said . They charged $220 for the falsified cards for adults and $85 for children, according to the district attorney’s office.

Ms. DeVuono, 49, and Ms. Urraro, 44, were arraigned on Friday, each charged with one count of second-degree forgery. Ms DeVuono was also charged with one count of offering a false instrument of deposit.

Michael Alber, Ms Urraro’s lawyer, said she pleaded not guilty and was released without bail.

“We look forward to highlighting the legal hurdles and flaws in this investigation,” Alber said. “One accusation should not overshadow the good work Ms. Urraro has done for children and adults in the medical field.”

Ms. DeVuono’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

At their arraignment on Friday, prosecutors accused the women of forging a vaccination card for an undercover detective, even though the vaccine had not been administered.

Prosecutors said law enforcement officers searched Ms DeVuono’s home and seized around $900,000 in cash and a ledger suggesting they earned $1.5million in the scheme from November to January .

Credit…Suffolk County Attorney’s Office

“I hope this sends a message to others who are considering playing the system that they will get caught and that we will enforce the law to the fullest extent possible,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney, in a statement.

Rodney K. Harrison, the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, said in a report, “As nurses, these two people need to understand the importance of legitimate vaccination cards as we all work together to protect public health.”

Nurses in South Carolina and Michigan have also been accused of tampering with vaccine cards in recent months.

In December, a nurse in Columbia, South Carolina, was indicted by a federal grand jury for fabricating fraudulent Covid-19 vaccination cards, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. In September, a nurse at a Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs hospital was accused of stealing genuine vaccination cards from the hospital and reselling them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Yvonne Gamble, spokeswoman for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said schemes involving fake vaccination cards, like Long Island’s, have hurt efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

“The proliferation of fake Covid-19 vaccination cards may undermine efforts to deal with the ongoing public health emergency,” Ms Gamble said. “Therefore, we encourage the public to obtain valid proof of Covid-19 vaccination from their medical providers instead of creating fake vaccination cards or purchasing them from unauthorized sources.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Long Island nurses accused of making $1.5 million in fake vaccine card scheme
Long Island nurses accused of making $1.5 million in fake vaccine card scheme
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