Nurse ran million-dollar COVID vaccine scam in New York: pleaded guilty to money laundering, lost her license

A nurse pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering when she raised $1.5 million selling fake vaccine cards during the pandemic on Long Island (NY). Two of her former employees testified against her.

Julie DeVuono, a 51-year-old nurse, pleaded guilty yesterday to fraud and money laundering charges for raising $1.5 million by selling fake vaccine cards during the COVID-19 pandemic on Long Island, NY.

As part of the scheme the nurse laundered $236,980 to pay the mortgage on a home she shared with her husband Derin De Vuono an NYPD police officer, according to the district attorney.

The nurse was arrested in January 2022. Now after pleading guilty she is expected to avoid jail time, but must turn over $1.2 million in criminal proceeds, perform 840 hours of community service, surrender her license to practice and close her pediatric business, Kids-on-Call.

“This defendant used her position as a nurse practitioner to circumvent the law by uploading false information into databases throughout New York State,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney charged. “He took advantage of the public’s fears and distrust during the COVID confinement to forge cards for the vaccine he never administered, for no purpose other than his own enrichment.”

DeVuono’s guilty plea comes after two co-defendant subordinates originally – Marissa Urraro, a licensed practical nurse, and receptionist Brooke Hogan – reached a secret agreement to testify against her according to, New York Post. Spokesmen for U.S. Attorney Tierney declined to discuss those cases, which are sealed.

DeVuono’s pediatric center in Amityville received free shipments of 3,174 doses of vaccines through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But employees charged customers between $220 and $350 for each dose falsely marked on a vaccination card for adults and $85 for children and then threw the vaccine in the trash.

The false information was recorded in the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS). DeVuono “accepted responsibility for his role and participation in the administration of false vaccination cards,” summarized his attorney Steven Gaitman.

In December 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul ruled that producing or using a fake coronavirus vaccination card was a state, as well as federal, crime, adding another option for prosecuting users and providers of such fraudulent documents.

In the fall that year several NYC employees were charged with using fake cards to circumvent then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s municipal vaccination mandate, including two high-ranking NYPD police officers who were stripped of their shields and weapons as a result.

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