A licensed Northern California homeopathic doctor was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of falsifying COVID-19 vaccination cards and selling “immunization pellets” that she claimed would protect from the virus, officials announced.
Juli A. Mazi, 41, of Napa allegedly told patients that taking pellets with small amounts of COVID-19 would result in full “lifelong immunity” from the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
She also gave out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine cards to customers, telling them to complete them to make it look like they got two doses of the Moderna vaccine when they hadn’t, federal officials said.
The homeopathic doctor provided specific Moderna vaccine lot numbers and vaccine dates to evade suspicion, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Mazi was charged with one count each of wire fraud and false statements related to health care matters.
It’s the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent CDC COVID-19 vaccine cards, Department of Justice officials said.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement. “Even worse, the defendant allegedly created counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and instructed her customers to falsely mark that they had received a vaccine, allowing them to circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease.”
In April, someone called a federal hotline to report that family members had bought the COVID-19 immunization pellets from Mazi, along with COVID-19 vaccine cards that had Moderna listed, according to the news release.
Federal officials said the Mazi was using the coronavirus pandemic to expand an immunization scheme she was already running.
Mazi had been offering homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses that she falsely claimed would satisfy California school requirements, and falsified vaccine cards that parents submitted to schools, according to the news release. Homeoprophylaxis involves using diluted amounts of a disease with claims that it would stimulate the immune system.
When the pandemic took hold, she started claiming the COVID-19 pellets can induce immunity while resulting in “infectious symptoms” of coronavirus, according to the Department of Justice, which added that Mazi said children could also be given the pellets.
“To encourage customers to purchase the pellets, Mazi allegedly exploited disinformation and fear by falsely claiming that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain ‘toxic ingredients,'” officials said.
A criminal complaint shared by the Department of Justice provided photos of CDC cards that had Mazi’s name on them, with Moderna vaccine lot numbers listed.
“This doctor violated the all-important trust the public extends to healthcare professionals — at a time when integrity is needed the most,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.