AMITYVILLE, NY — An Amityville pediatric nurse practitioner pleaded guilty on Friday to forging COVID-19 vaccination record cards, making more than $1.5 million in profits, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced.
Julie DeVuono, 51, of Amityville and her corporation Kids-On-Call Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, P.C., doing business as Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree money laundering, one count of second-degree forgery, and one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, before Judge John B. Collins, prosecutors said.
Kids-On-Call Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, P.C. pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree money laundering, and one count of second-degree forgery, prosecutors said.
She faced a 34-count indictment in April.
From June 15, 2021 to Jan. 27, 2022, DeVuono sold forged COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards which stated that purported patients had received a vaccination and subsequently entered false information that the customer received a COVID-19 Vaccination into the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), according to the investigation and the DeVuono's admissions during the guilty plea allocution.
In 2021, each adult customer was charged $220 for a false entry on the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card and a false entry into NYSIIS. In 2022, each adult customer was charged $350 for a false entry on the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card and a false entry into NYSIIS.
DeVuono then laundered the proceeds from this criminal conduct by transferring funds through several accounts and conducting several transactions, including paying off the mortgage on her Amityville home, prosecutors said.
A subsequent District Attorney’s investigation also uncovered a separate scheme by DeVuono, a release said.
Between Feb. 10, 2019 and Aug. 14, 2021, DeVuono submitted false prescriptions for oxycodone to local pharmacies in Suffolk County that had false entries regarding the identities of individuals, none of whom were her actual patients, and some of whom were her relatives.
Even though DeVuono knew these electronic prescriptions would be filed with the New York State Department of Health after they were submitted to the local pharmacies electronically, she obtained the oxycodone from these pharmacies and kept the controlled substances for herself, prosecutors said.
"This defendant used her position as a nurse practitioner to circumvent the law by uploading false information into New York state wide databases," said Tierney. "The defendant’s abuse of authority preyed upon the fears and mistrust of the public during the COVID shutdown to forge COVID cards for the vaccine she never administered, in pursuit of no other purpose than her own enrichment.”
At the guilty plea, she and the corporation agreed to forfeit criminal proceeds totaling the sum of $1,252,540.63, pros, as a result of DeVuono’s criminal conduct.
The criminal proceeds include United States currency and bank account funds previously seized, along with equity that DeVuono paid off on her Amityville home, prosecutors said.
DeVuono also surrendered her professional licenses as a Nurse Practitioner and a Registered Professional Nurse to the New York State Department of Education.
In addition, she surrendered her certificate of incorporation as a professional service corporation in New York State, which includes as a condition of her plea to immediately shut down her pediatric office Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare. She is no longer permitted to practice in the medical field in New York, prosecutors said.
DeVuono is due back in court on Nov. 17, 2023, when Justice Collins is expected to sentence her to six months of incarceration, with alcohol and narcotic conditions imposed, and with 840 hours as a community service alternative that will be completed during her probationary supervision term of five years.
She will also pay a total of $15,000 in fines. Kids-On-Call Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, P.C. will be sentenced to three-year conditional discharges, prosecutors said.
Both defendants are being represented by Jason Russo, Esq. and Steven Gaitman, Esq.
District Attorney Tierney also thanked the Suffolk County Police Department District Attorney’s Squad for helping bring this case to a close, and he also thanked the agents and investigators from the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the New York State Department of Health for their help and assistance in this investigation.