CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Two Long Island nurses are under arrest, accused of forging vaccination cards for a steep profit.
The owner of the Amityville pediatric clinic allegedly entered the bogus information into the New York state health department database.
CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports nearly $1 million was seized in the fake card bust.
Behind Amityville's gazebo and historic Main Street, Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare invites in parents and children for COVID-19 vaccines. But prosecutors say the pediatric nurse practitioner who runs the clinic, Julie Devuono, and her LPN assistant Marissa Urraro were not administering vaccines - they were selling hundreds of fake cards.
Devuono, as the owner and operator of Wild Child, is accused of then entering the bogus information into the New York state health database.
"She's a licensed practitioner who focuses on young people. She handles a lot of school children," said defense attorney Barry Smolowitz.
"Do you know what the motivation was?" McLogan asked.
"I don't know if there's any motivation. I don't know if she's guilty of any of these allegations," Smolowitz said.
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Prosecutors says the duo sold each purported dose for $220, or $440 per card. Children went for $85.
It was revealed in the criminal complaint that when investigators searched Devuono's home, they recovered $900,000 in U.S. currency, and a ledger documenting profits in excess of $1.5 million over the past three months.
"It's money. They want to make money, so they will do whatever they can to make money," said neighbor Rita Gardini. "People are very vulnerable."
Business owners who operate small shops near the clinic said they suspected something untoward was happening with the amount of foot traffic.
"It's frightening beyond words, and I'm grateful it has been put to an end," said Erin Bevilacqua. "Break laws, give fake vaccines. Very disheartening."
The anti-vaccine movement was part of a parents' rights rally on Long Island earlier in the week, many taking their children out of school to march for choice when it comes to mask wearing and mandates over COVID-19 vaccines.
It is unclear if the accused tried to prey on those views.
"They just don't care, just don't believe that this is something that's real. They see an opportunity and they are going to take it," said Gina Haskell.
Doctors McLogan spoke with say, if the allegations are true, besides being medically unethical, forging vaccine cards is potentially life threatening.
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