Long-Island Nurses made $1.5 million selling fake vaccination cards

Julie DeVuono has volunteered to help people avoid vaccinations for years. The nurse's pediatric clinic promoted "vaccine exemption seminars" in 2017 and 2018, claiming that they would provide "the best possibility of acceptance."

Now, DeVuono and a coworker are accused of selling fake coronavirus vaccination cards and putting them in a state database. Authorities claim the Long Island couple left behind a ledger detailing more than $1.5 million in profits in less than three months.

In a statement, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison stated, "As nurses, these two individuals should appreciate the necessity of authentic immunization cards as we all work together to preserve public health."

Last Monday, DeVuono, 49, and Marissa Urraro, 44, were charged with forgery. DeVuono is also accused of willfully submitting false information to a public office by offering a fraudulent instrument for filing. The nurses allegedly charged $85 for each "false entry" for minors and $220 for adults, according to prosecutors.

According to their lawyers, DeVuono and Urraro have pleaded not guilty.

"In these uncertain times, courts are delivering judgment addressing the government overstepping its bounds," Urraro's attorney, Michael J. Alber, said in a statement. "As a result, today more than ever, it's critical that no hasty judgment be made in establishing an opinion against the esteemed LPN," he continued, using the initialism for the licensed practical nurse.

As some leaders and corporations impose vaccinations protecting against the coronavirus, the complaint is one of many around the country alleging criminal efforts to bypass vaccination regulations.

More than 200 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against the virus, with almost 90 million of them receiving booster doses that have been shown to minimize the risk of serious illness, including from the omicron variety. However, more than a third of the population is yet to receive its first dose of the vaccine.

Officials claimed the cards allegedly created by DeVuono and Urraro put others in danger and undermined efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

According to the district attorney's office, police searched DeVuono's residence and recovered about $900,000, as well as a ledger of earnings from the card operation, which they claim began in November 2021. Prosecutors have released photos of the seizures, which show mounds of cash.

Officials said DeVuono's Long Island practice, Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare, was also searched. An undercover officer was able to obtain a falsified card from the defendants, according to the district attorney's office.


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