UPDATED February 1, 2022 // Editor's note: This story has been updated to indicate an additional arrest in the case.
Two New York pediatric nurses were recently arrested for making more than $1.5 million from forged COVID vaccination cards and falsifying immunization records to indicate vaccines were administered, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Julie DeVuono, 49, and Marissa Urraro, 44, each were charged with one count of second-degree forgery. DeVuono was also charged with an additional count for “offering a false instrument for filing,” the district attorney’s office reported.
DeVuono owns Wild Child Pediatrics Healthcare in Amityville, New York, and Urraro is her employee. The office was listed online as temporarily closed. On its Facebook site, a Jan. 28 post, presumably from DeVuono, stated: “Please keep my family and Marissa in your prayers as well.” It received more than 870 comments at press time.
Brooke Hogan, 29, a receptionist at DeVuono's medical practice, was arrested as well, charged with forgery. She was arraigned and released.
On the site, DeVuono is described as a pediatric nurse practitioner with 15 years of experience in primary care pediatrics as well as 10 years of experience as a pediatric intensive care unit and neonatal intensive care unit nurse. “But most importantly; she's a … Mom!"
Urraro, a licensed practice nurse, and her employer allegedly used their positions to obtain COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination cards, along with medical syringes from the New York State Department of Health, a district attorney press release stated.
During a search of DeVuono’s home, law enforcement seized about $900,000 in cash along with a ledger documenting profits in excess of $1.5 million from the illegal activity from November 2021 until Jan. 27, according to the release and court records.
The pair charged $220 for adults and $85 for children per false entry, the press release stated.
“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 stated in the release.
Barry Mark Smolowitz, DeVuono’s attorney, told NBC News Monday that his client was arraigned on Jan. 28 along with her employee. Both entered a plea of not guilty.
Other incidents of vaccine card forgery have surfaced in recent months. In December, a nurse in South Carolina was indicted for making fraudulent COVID vaccinations cards.
Images: Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
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Cite this: Two Nurses Charged With Making $1.5M in Phony COVID Cards - Medscape - Feb 01, 2022.