Eighty-two New York City school teachers were accused of submitting fake vaccine cards they allegedly acquired through a $1.5 million scheme run by a holistic pediatric center in Long Island.
In January, nurse practitioner Julie DeVuono, 49, and members of her staff were charged with dishing out fake vaccine cards to hundreds of customers at the Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare facility in Amityville, which offers natural remedies to patients.
Among their clients included 82 teachers in the city, who were charged $220 for each fake dose marked on their cards and were suspended without pay in April, the New York Post reported.
Several of the teachers, however, claimed they did get the vaccine properly from DeVuono’s clinic as their union, the United Federation of Teachers, said it intends to sue the city’s Department of Education over the suspensions.
Eighty-two New York City school teachers were accused of submitting fake vaccine cards (pictured) they allegedly purchased from nurse Julie DeVuono
Police said the cards were purchased at the Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare facility in Amityville (pictured), which offers natural remedies to patients
DeVuono, 49 (left), who owns the Long Island clinic, was charged with forgery and offering a false instrument for filing for fake vaccination cards. Practical nurse and Wild Child Pediatrics employee, Marissa Urraro, 44 (right), was also charged with forgery
Police found $900,000 in cash inside NYPD-issued helmet bags in DeVuono’s home
Three of the suspended teachers, from Queens, speaking with Post under the condition of anonymity, said they did receive the required number of shots of Pfizer’s vaccine from DeVuono.
When asked about the exuberant fees they paid, as the vaccine was distributed to Americans without cost, the teachers said they were paying for a ‘detox’ treatment.
‘We did not pay for the vaccination itself or the card,’ one of the teacher, who works with students with disabilities, said.
‘It helped detox my body from all the unnecessary stuff in that shot.’
The teacher said she was wary that the vaccine would have an effect on her because of an underlying autoimmune disorder, but said she trusted the pills and medication DeVuono allegedly charged her for.
Another teacher told the Post that it was wrong of the Department of Education to believe her vaccine card was fake just because others had purchased fraudulent cards from the Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare center.
‘I’m being lumped in with what other people did, having nothing to do with me.’
Paralegal Betsy Combier, who is helping defend the accused teachers, also slammed the state, which called on all teachers and city employees to get fully vaccinated in order to keep their jobs.
‘This is a blatant example of the department’s pattern and practice to find guilt first, and innocence second,’ Combier told the Post. ‘No facts available show fraud on their part.’
The Department of Education referred its statement to the city Law Department, which called the teacher’s lawsuit ‘baseless.’
‘The New York State Department of Health’s Vaccination Complaint Investigations Team continues to work closely with the Suffolk County DA’s Office and other law enforcement to actively investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law anyone who created, distributed, purchased, or used fraudulent proof of Covid-19 vaccination from Wild Child Pediatrics,’ department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said in a statement.
DeVuono’s husband, Derin, an NYPD officer, is now facing an internal probe after money was found in NYPD-issued helmet bags
When police searched the DeVuono household, they found a ledger (pictured) that appeared to show the women made $1.5million in three months time
DeVuono, who owns the Long Island clinic, and her employees Marissa Urraro, 44, a practical nurse, and Brooke Hogan, 30, a receptionist, are accused of selling fake vaccination cards after undercover detectives obtained one ‘on one or more occasions.’
DeVuono allegedly charged $220 for adults and $85 for children to enter falsified information to the New York State Immunization Information System – reportedly making $1.5 million in just three months, according to CBS New York.
Despite receiving vaccines and syringes being sent to the practice from the government, patients never received a vaccine.
When police searched DeVuono’s home in Amityville, they found $900,000 in cash, some of it found in NYPD-issued helmet bags, sources told the New York Daily News, drawing suspicion to her husband Derin, a police officer at Brooklyn’s 60th Precinct.
Both nurse practitioners have been charged with forgery, and DeVuono for offering a false instrument for filing.
Derin has been placed under an internal investigation to see if he was involved in his wife’s fraudulent business.