Two Long Island nurses on Friday were charged with making more than $1.5 million off of forged COVID-19 vaccination cards, The Associated Press reported.
Julie DeVuono, a nurse practitioner and the owner of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare, was charged with felony forgery and offering a false instrument for filing. Her employee Marissa Urraro, a licensed practical nurse, was also charged with felony forgery.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said the nurses charged $220 for forged vaccination cards for adults and $85 for children in a scheme that began in November. The pair would also enter incorrect information into New York’s state immunization database, according to Tierney.
DeVuono and Urraro allegedly forged a vaccination card for an undercover detective before being charged.
“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 Harrison.
Michael Alber, Urraro’s lawyer, said that Urraro is a well-respected nurse and encouraged people to take caution when forming judgements about the situation.
“We look forward to highlighting the legal impediments and defects of the investigation,” Alber said. “It’s our hope that an accusation definitely doesn’t overshadow the good work Miss Urraro’s done for children and adults in the medical field.”
Law enforcement seized $900,000 in cash and a ledger revealing illegal profits of over $1.5 million from DeVuono’s home.
“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,” officials said in a statement.