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Saturday, June 3, 2023

2 American nurses who forged Covid vaccination certificates made $1.5 million

Julie DeVuono, 49, a chief nurse at a pediatric clinic in New York, and her assistant Marissa Urraro, 44, forged so-called Vaccine Cards and sold them on the black market. By the time they were caught, they had sold fake cards worth $1.5 million or roughly over Rs. 11 crore. Much of the loot was found in cash at DeVuono’s home. Since $900,000 cash was found hidden in police department-issued helmet bags, her husband Derin, a police officer, is also a suspect. 

Basically, what is happening is that many Americans do not believe that they need vaccines or they suspect their government’s intentions or the quality of their vaccines, or both. If you are ready to pay a fee, such nurses are willing to update your information, misguide the government system that a particular citizen has taken his or her vaccination shot and discard or resell those vaccines in the black market. 

Despite the government sending vaccines and syringes to the clinic where DeVuono worked, not a single patient ever received a vaccine dose. These nurses were entering false information into the immunization database and the government was issuing vaccination cards in the names of recipients who were not getting their jabs. The demand was pretty good too. 

Local business owners reported suspicious heavy rush at the health care center. Undercover agents found that the nurses were into fraud when one of their agents was never vaccinated but the nurses got him a forged card for $220. It seems that is the going rate for adults and even children are being issued pieces of paper called Vaccine Cards containing falsified information, for $85. 

The nurses even kept a ledger to register earnings from their fraudulent scheme and this is how the police found that deals worth $1.5million had happened in the last three months. Both medical practitioners were charged with forgery and DeVuono also faces sections related to uploading false information on the government website. 

Images courtesy dailymail.co.uk

Despite the fact that both the accused women were presented before a judge, they claimed to be not guilty and astonishingly the court immediately released them on bail. Derin is being internally investigated to check his involvement in the crime.

Made-in-China fake vaccine cards and Pfizer stickers are also available and thousands have been confiscated over the past few months. These shipments from China were being sent to citizens who had nothing to do with healthcare. Though they displayed American national public health agency logos, the printing was inferior and even common words were misspelled.   

Such fake certificates were available on the black market in America ever since vaccinations began for $100 apiece. Last September, US President Biden said that his administration had decided that employers with 100 or more employees should ensure that their staff is compulsorily vaccinated or pay for the COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis. The very next day after this announcement, black market rates for fake vaccine cards touched $200 and underground operators rose from around 1,200 to more than 10,000. 

American vaccine certificate (Images courtesy ABC News)

America’s vaccination certificate is a hand-written paper certificate. On the other hand, Bharat’s digital vaccination certificates are instantly available online through the CoWIN app and most are linked to the Aadhaar card. Misuse or forgery is practically impossible. Our citizens are being vaccinated rapidly and they also get a digital certificate of vaccination within seconds of getting their jabs. That certificate is sent to the vaccinated person’s mobile phone and can be easily downloaded and easily produced. 

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