Coronavirus

NYC Couple Accused of Forging Multiple Positive COVID Test Results to Delay Criminal Trial

An investigation also revealed that the couple had not been quarantining in their Manhattan apartment like they said, but rather had traveled to different hotels and casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland over that period of time

A Manhattan couple is accused of forging multiple positive COVID-19 test results in order to delay a trial in which the husband faced drug charges, a Long Island district attorney said.

In Sept. 2020, Devon Lewis faced multiple charges regarding the sale and possession of cocaine and heroin, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said. Right before closing arguments in the case were set to begin, the 35-year-old Lewis provided a photo purporting to show that Blair McDermott had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The following month, Lewis told the court that he and McDermott were in quarantine in their Manhattan home, and his attorney shared a photo that McDermott tested positive again on Oct. 8, the district attorney's office said. After eventually showing a negative test for McDermott, the trial resumed in November and Lewis was convicted on 12 felony narcotics charges.

But an investigation by the DA's office showed that McDermott had changed the documents to show a positive result, when in reality she had tested negative, according to Sini. She also allegedly changed the date on the September test to an earlier date.

After obtaining a search warrant to search Lewis' phone, it was found that he and McDermott knowingly presented the fake documents in court. The investigation and cell phone analysis also revealed that the couple had not been quarantining in their Manhattan apartment like they said, but rather had traveled to different hotels and casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland over that period of time, according to the district attorney's office.

A month before his trial, Lewis had also presented a doctor's note stating he had asthma and any jail sentence issued during the pandemic would be a health risk. The investigation revealed that the note was also forged, Sini said.

"It is reprehensible that someone would claim to have this deadly virus, which has taken so much from so many people, to try to avoid the consequences of their own criminal actions," District Attorney Sini said. "This was a completely selfish, senseless attempt to subvert our criminal justice system and delay the inevitable." 

Lewis and McDermott each face two counts of second-degree forgery and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, among other charges.

Lewis was arraigned virtually Monday and was remanded without bail. He is due back in court on Feb. 16. McDermott, who is represented by the Legal Aid Society, was arraigned in late December and released. She is next due back in court Jan. 22.