Julie DeVuono is a defendant in an alleged fake COVID-19...

Julie DeVuono is a defendant in an alleged fake COVID-19 vaccination card scheme. Credit: Suffolk County District Attorney/SCDA

A Suffolk County grand jury indicted a nurse practitioner accused of running a $1.5 million fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination card scheme on money laundering charges, court records show.

Julie DeVuono, 50, of Amityville, will be arraigned April 12 on the upgraded charges, which include felony counts for forgery of a government document and offering a false instrument as well as misdemeanor conspiracy for the alleged scheme she ran out of her Amityville health clinic. She was indicted Tuesday along with her corporation, Kids-On-Call Pediatric Nurse Practitioner PC.

In a civil forfeiture action filed in state Supreme Court last year, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney alleged DeVuono used proceeds of the scheme to satisfy the mortgage on her Amityville house in the days following her arrest.

Tierney alleged in the filing that DeVuono, owner and CEO of a clinic operating under the name Wild Child Pediatric Health Care, authorized a $236,980 wire transfer just three days after her January 2022 arrest to pay the balance on a mortgage for the house owned by her husband, an NYPD pilot, according to the civil forfeiture complaint filed last May.

Defense attorney Steven Gaitman of Gaitman & Russo in Garden City acknowledged the indictment to Newsday but declined to comment before the arraignment. 

Prosecutors have alleged that after entering into an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to administer free COVID-19 vaccinations to the public, DeVuono directed practical nurse Marissa Urraro of Northport to fake giving shots to patients who would then receive a vaccine card in exchange for cash. The shots were then falsely reported to the state, prosecutors said.

Adult patients paid $220 to $350 per fake shot recorded with the state, according to the civil forfeiture complaint. Fake pediatric shots ranged from $85 to $220, the complaint said.

To conceal the alleged scheme, DeVuono, Urraro and receptionist Brooke Hogan, all of whom have been criminally charged, “wasted” the doses the clinic reported administering to patients by dumping an equal amount of the vaccine into a trash can, the complaint said. Urraro and Hogan have not been charged in the new indictment, court records show.

The employees often received cash payments from patients, which were kept in a safe at the office from which DeVuono would frequently remove cash, according to the complaint.

During the raid of the DeVuono home in January 2022, investigators recovered more than $869,000 in cash and a ledger indicating the scheme generated $1.5 million, according to the civil forfeiture complaint and prosecutor statements at her previous arraignment. DeVuono also shared some of the cash proceeds with her employees, prosecutors said.

The alleged scheme has been linked to a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn filed by an attorney for a group of 30 New York City public school teachers who were suspended without pay after an investigator reported they received their vaccine cards from the Amityville clinic, according to records in that case. Supreme Court Justice Gina Abadi ruled in December that those teachers, 27 of whom previously had been granted tenure, should be returned to the classroom and awarded back pay. Those teachers have not been criminally prosecuted.

Derin DeVuono, the nurse’s husband, was named as a noncriminal defendant in the civil forfeiture action. In that complaint, Tierney said his office intends to recover from Derin DeVuono the amount paid to satisfy his mortgage and any increased equity established in the time since then.

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