The owner of a pediatric healthcare office in Amityville, along with a worker at the facility, have been arrested for allegedly selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards and entering false information into New York’s vaccination database, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney.
Julie DeVuono, 49, the owner and operator of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare, and her employee, Marissa Urraro, 44, were each charged with one count of forgery in the second degree, which is a class D felony. DeVuono was also charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, which is a class E felony. Both women have been arraigned.
“These individuals allegedly used their positions as licensed healthcare professionals to engage in criminal conduct for their financial benefit,” Tierney said in a statement. “This fraudulent scheme was uncovered thanks to the hard work of the members of the Suffolk County Police Department DA’s squad assigned to my office. 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.”
DeVuono is a nurse practitioner, and Urraro is a licensed practical nurse. The pair allegedly used their positions to obtain Covid-19 vaccines, blank Covid-19 vaccination cards, and medical syringes from the New York State Department of Health.
According to the district attorney’s office, the nurses falsified vaccination cards and documented giving vaccines to undercover police officers, who the nurses did not administer vaccines to, during the investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department and federal investigators.
“As nurses, these two individuals should understand the importance of legitimate vaccination cards as we all work together to protect public health,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison. “This is another example of great investigative police work by the SCPD and I commend District Attorney Tierney for his partnership.”
During an authorized investigation of DeVuono’s Amityville home, investigators also found and seized $900,000 in cash and a ledger documenting more than $1.5 million in profits from the alleged vaccination card sales that occurred between November 2021 and January 2022. Authorities allege that the women received $220 per adult and $85 per child whose vaccination card and entry into the New York State Immunization Information System database they falsified.
“We are committed to helping the country get through the COVID-19 health crisis, but public safety comes first,” said Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s New York Region (HHS OIG). “Forging COVID-19 vaccination cards and entering false information into the New York State database used to track vaccination records puts the health and well-being of others at risk, and undermines efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in our efforts to root out all related fraud schemes during this ongoing public health emergency.”
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