NEW YORK (WABC) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is signing an executive order to fine health care providers that commit coronavirus vaccine fraud up to $1 million and revoke their license to practice.
The move comes after the ParCare clinic was found to have defrauded the state, prompting a criminal investigation.
New York State Police will refer the alleged misappropriation of the Moderna vaccine by ParCare to the New York Attorney General's office, Cuomo said Monday.
"Were you sent the vaccine because you made false representations, that's the question," Cuomo said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office is opening an investigation into ParCare over the allegations.
"My office is launching an investigation into ParCare over allegations that it wrongfully distributed and administered COVID-19 vaccines," James said. "In order for the vaccine to be most effective in protecting our communities, we must all follow the same distribution plan. We will not tolerate any attempts to circumvent that process."
Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said ParCare in Orange County obtained the vaccine under false pretenses, moved it to another part of the state - Brooklyn - and gave it to people who are not on the priority list.
The vaccines were reportedly given to members of the public and not frontline healthcare workers or nursing home residents and staff, as stipulated by the state.
"Whenever you have a valuable commodity that is being dispensed you should expect fraud," Cuomo said.
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ParCare is the only organization that is currently under criminal investigation but the governor said recipients of the vaccine who should not have been given a dose could also face charges.
ParCare Community Health Network released the following statement Monday:
"We are actively cooperating with the State of New York's inquiries. Governor Cuomo himself stressed the importance of getting all the facts and providing the facts to the state is exactly what we have done and will continue to do, including information regarding compliance with NYS DOH procedures for distribution. As always, our priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our fellow New Yorkers."
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