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Two New York nurses accused of making $1.5 million off fake COVID vaccination cards

Police officers said they seized about $900,000 in cash from one nurse's home.

January 30, 2022 4:54pm

Updated: January 30, 2022 5:04pm

Two New York nurses are accused of making more than $1.5 million by forging COVID-19 vaccination cards, police and prosecutors said, according to The Associated Press.

Owner of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare Julie DeVuono and her employee Marissa Urrano both face charges of felony forgery, while DeVuono faces an additional charge of offering a false instrument for filing.

Since November 2021, the duo sold fake COVID vaccination cards at $220 for adults and $85 for children, and entered false information into the state vaccination database, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said. 

The nurses created a fake vaccination card for an undercover detective, prosecutors said.

DeVuono, a nurse practitioner, and Urraro, a licensed practical nurse, both were arraigned on Friday. 

Urraro’s lawyer, Michael Alber defended his client for her "good" work in medicine, according to AP. 

"We look forward to highlighting the legal impediments and defects of the investigation," he said on Saturday. "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."

DeVuono’s attorney did not respond to AP's request for comment.

The Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare Facebook page posted a statement Friday. "Hello everyone. Thank you for your outpouring of support at this difficult time. Please keep my family and Marissa in your prayers as well," the facility wrote. The comments are overwhelmingly negative.

Police officers said they seized about $900,000 in cash from DeVuono's home, along with a ledger showing $1.5 million in profits from the forgeries. 

"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," Tierney said in a statement obtained by AP.

The White House warned in August 2021 that it is a crime to create fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, but the warning has not deterred some people. A Michigan Veterans Affairs nurse was charged the following month with selling stolen vaccination cards.

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