Two Amityville nurses were arraigned Friday on charges they fraudulently filled out COVID-19 vaccination cards and entered the false vaccine status information in the state database in a scheme authorities say garnered $1.5 million in profit, Suffolk County authorities said.
Julie DeVuono, 49, the owner and operator of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare and a nurse practitioner and her employee Marissa Urraro, 44, a licensed practical nurse, were arrested and charged with one count of second-degree forgery, a felony. DeVuono is also charged with first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, also a felony.
"These individuals allegedly used their positions as licensed healthcare professionals to engage in criminal conduct for their financial benefit," Suffolk County District Attorney Ray 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."
Defense attorneys for the nurses did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday.
Prosecutors alleged DeVuono and Urraro forged COVID-19 vaccine cards for an undercover detective without administering the vaccination to the detective. Prosecutors said the nurses then entered the false information into the New York State Immunization Information System.
They charged $220 for the forged vaccination cards for adults and $85 for children, prosecutors said.
While executing a search warrant of DeVuono’s home, authorities seized approximately $900,000 in cash with a ledger documenting profits in excess of $1.5 million from the alleged illegal activity for the time period of November 2021 to January 2022, prosecutors said.
"As nurses, these two individuals should understand the importance of legitimate vaccination cards as we all work together to protect public health," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said in a statement. "This is another example of great investigative police work by the SCPD and I commend District Attorney Tierney for his partnership."