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Two New York nurses are said to have made around $1.5 million in a fake vaccine card scheme.
Nurses Julie DeVuono and Marissa Urraro reportedly faked Covid vaccine cards by entering false shots into the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), before charging people for the cards.
The pair were arrested on Thursday, January 27, and were charged with second-degree forgery. DeVuono has also been charged with first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
DeVuono, a nurse practitioner, runs Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, Long Island. Urraro, a licensed nurse, is her employee, NBC News reports.
According to prosecutors, the pair charged $220 for adults and $85 for children to get false vaccination cards.
While searching DeVuono's home, law enforcement seized $900,000 and a ledger that documented the profits from November 2021 to January 2022 the pair had made, which was in excess of $1.5 million.
Barry Mark Smolowitz, DeVuono's attorney, told NBC News that both his client and Urraro had entered a plea of not guilty.
He added, 'We’re looking further into this'.
Michael J. Alber, Urraro's attorney, said, 'An accusation should not overshadow the good work Ms. Urraro has done for children and adults in the medical field.'
The attorney continued, 'In today’s uncertain times courts are issuing rulings regarding the Government overstepping their limits. Because of this, now more than ever, it is so important that there is no rush to judgment in forming an opinion against a respected LPN (licensed practical nurse). We look forward to highlighting the legal impediments and defects in this investigation.'
However, Raymon A Tierney, Suffolk County District Attorney, also issued a statement regarding the case.
'These individuals allegedly used their positions as licensed healthcare professionals to engage in criminal conduct for their financial benefit,' he said.
Tierney said he hopes the case acts as a warning for anyone considering the same kind of scheme.
'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,' he added.
The pair were apprehended by Suffolk County Police Department's DA squad with assistance from other official state departments. Undercover detectives allegedly found that on more than one occasion an undercover detective was given a vaccine card without having had an injection.
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