NAPA (CBS SF) – A naturopathic doctor in Napa County pleaded guilty to providing falsified COVID-19 vaccine cards and selling treatments falsely claimed to protect against the disease, federal prosecutors said.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds' office, 41-year-old Dr. Juli Mazi admitted on Wednesday to one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements related to health care matters.
Mazi was arrested last July after the Department of Health and Human Services received a complaint that she was offering homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets that she claimed would provide "lifelong" protection against COVID-19.
According to court documents, the complainant said Mazi told family members her homeprophylaxis pellets contained the COVID-19 virus and would create an antibody response in their immune systems.
Along with the pellets, the doctor also provided fake CDC vaccination cards along with instructions on how to complete the cards to make it appear that the patient received the Moderna vaccine. The investigation revealed that Mazi provided the fake vaccination cards to more than 200 people.
"Mazi made profits by selling false immunization cards she knew would be used to mislead schools into believing students had been immunized from childhood illnesses as required by law," Hinds said. "Mazi's fake health care records scheme endangered the health and well-being of students and the general public at a time when confidence in our public health system is of critical importance."
Court documents said Mazi also offered homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets in place of childhood vaccinations required for attendance at school, along with providing deceptive immunization cards which she knowingly would be submitted to schools. According to prosecutors, more than 100 people received the fake immunization cards.
According to the complaint, Mazi encouraged purchase of her products by exploiting disinformation and fear of FDA-authorized COVID vaccines, falsely claiming the vaccines contain "toxic ingredients." Mazi is also alleged to have told customers they could give the pellets to children for COVID-19 immunity, and that the "dose is actually the same for babies."
"This doctor violated the public's trust and reliance on health care professionals – during a time when integrity was needed most," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "Instead of providing sage information and guidance, Mazi profited from peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations."
Mazi faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud charge and up to five years for the false statements charge. Each charge also carries a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors said Mazi is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29.
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