Naturopathic doctor admits selling fake COVID vaccine cards
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A naturopathic doctor in Northern California on Wednesday pleaded guilty to selling fake COVID-19 immunization treatments and hundreds of fraudulent vaccination cards that made it seem like customers received Moderna vaccines, federal prosecutors said.
Juli A. Mazi, 41, of Napa, plead guilty in federal court in San Francisco to one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
The case was the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards for COVID-19, the department said.
Mazi provided fake CDC vaccination cards for COVID-19 to at least 200 people with instructions on how to complete the cards to make them look like they had received a Moderna vaccine, federal prosecutors said.
She also sold homeopathic pellets she fraudulently claimed would provide “lifelong immunity to COVID-19.” She told customers the pellets contained small amounts of the virus and would create an antibody response, they said.
“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. “Instead of providing sage information and guidance, Mazi profited from peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations.”
Mazi also offered the pellets in place of childhood vaccinations required for attendance at school and sold at least 100 fake immunization cards that said the children had been vaccinated, knowing the documents would be submitted to schools, officials said.
Federal officials opened an investigation against Mazi after receiving a complaint in April 2021 to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General hotline.
Mazi is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29.