The Perfect Enemy | Accused NYC teachers deny buying fake COVID vaccine cards
July 7, 2022

Accused NYC teachers deny buying fake COVID vaccine cards

Accused NYC teachers deny buying fake COVID vaccine cards  New York Post

Read Time:4 Minute

Scores of NYC teachers accused of submitting fake vaccine cards are caught up in a $1.5 million scheme allegedly run by a Long Island pediatric center, The Post has learned.

The 82 teachers claimed they obtained COVID-19 vaccines at Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville,  which is known for offering holistic and natural remedies.

In a scandal stemming from the vaccine mandates imposed by governments and businesses, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office alleges that two nurses doled out fake vax cards to hundreds of customers, charging adults $220 for each dose marked on the card ($440 for both) and $85 for kids.

Nurse practitioner Julie DeVuono, who owns and operates the center, is also accused of falsely listing clients as vaccinated in the New York State Immunization Information System, a felony.

Three Queens teachers whose names came up as Wild Child customers spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity. They all denied paying for fraudulent vaccine cards, insisting they got the shots and that their vaccination cards are valid.

Adults were allegedly charged $220 for each dose marked on the card.
Suffolk County DA

The cards list Pfizer lot numbers for each shot purportedly injected.

 The educators admit to paying the steep fees, but claim it was for a “detox” treatment to offset any adverse reaction to the vaccine.

“We paid for the detox protocol. We did not pay for the vaccination itself or the card,” said an elementary teacher who works with students with severe disabilities.

“It helped detox my body from all the unnecessary stuff in that shot.”  

The teacher said she feared the vaccine’s effect on her health because of an underlying autoimmune disorder.

The teachers admit to paying the high prices, but claim it was for a post-vaccine detox.
The teachers admit to paying the high prices, but claim it was for a post-vaccine detox.
Suffolk County DA

It’s unclear what the detox consisted of, but teachers said it involved pills.

“She just told me that it would help detox my body and I trusted her,” one said, referring to DeVuono, who has also treated her six-year-old son for years.

Another teacher said of DeVuono, “She tries holistic approaches before giving medications so when my son had an ear infection, she’s like, ‘Okay, it’s not that bad. Let’s try garlic oil first.’”

A third teacher said if other people paid for bogus vaccine cards, that doesn’t mean she did.

Julie Devuono
Nurse practitioner Julie DeVuono is accused of falsely listing clients as vaccinated.
Suffolk County DA

“I’m being lumped in with what other people did, having nothing to do with me.”

The teachers have been banned from their schools, saying it hurts students and their families.

The city has required teachers and other city employees to get fully vaccinated to keep their jobs unless granted a medical or religious exemption. Close to 1,000 DOE employees have been fired for failure to comply.

The 82 teachers were suspended without pay on April 25 after the city Department of Education learned they had obtained vaccine cards from Wild Child. Their union, the UFT, filed a notice it intends to sue the DOE on behalf of the members.

Melissa Urraro
Nurse Melissa Urraro is also charged with taking part in the scam.
Suffolk County DA

Along with DeVuono, 49, Marissa Urraro, 44, a licensed practical nurse, and Brooke Hogan, 30, a receptionist, were charged with taking part in the scam. All have pleaded not guilty.

In a search of DeVuono’s house, cops found $900,000 in cash and a ledger showing more than $1.5 million in receipts from November 2021 through January 2022, the DA said.

DeVuono’s husband Derin, an NYPD officer, was placed on modified duty; he had to surrender his firearm, shield, and ID and take non-enforcement assignments.

According to a criminal complaint, the Suffolk County DA sent undercover detectives to Wild Child, where they paid for a vaccine card without getting the shots.

But it’s unclear how prosecutors can prove other customers did the same.

Suffolk DA spokeswoman Tania Lopez would not answer questions, saying only the investigation is ongoing. 

DuVuono’s lawyer, Barry Smolowitz, and Urraro’s lawyer, Michael Alber, declined to comment.

Betsy Combier, a paralegal helping defend the accused teachers, said “No facts available show fraud on their part.”

She blasted the DOE for exiling the educators without a hearing: “This is a blatant example of the department’s pattern and practice to find guilt first, and innocence second.” 

The DOE referred questions to the city Law Department. Spokesman Nicholas Paolucci said the city will oppose a “baseless” lawsuit threatened by the UFT.

Those found guilty of vax fraud face serious consequences, state health department officials said.

“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,” said department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond.