SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A homeopathic doctor in Northern California’s wine country was arrested Wednesday for allegedly selling unapproved, natural-based Covid-19 immunizations and telling patients to falsify Covid-19 vaccination cards.
Juli Mazi, 41, of Napa was charged with wire fraud and making health-care-related false statements.
“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 Monaco said in a statement Wednesday.
Mazi is licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California and owns a homeopathic health care business called “Juli Mazi, ND, a Naturopathic Doctor Corporation.”
Federal investigators first learned of Mazi’s alleged scheme to sell fake Covid-19 vaccines in April when a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). The person who filed that complaint said his or her family members obtained pellets from Mazi. The doctor allegedly told them the pellets contained trace amounts of the Covid-19 virus that would create an antibody response in their immune systems.
Mazi allegedly gave those patients Covid-19 vaccination cards that listed Moderna as the vaccine, even though they never received injections of the FDA-approved vaccine. Mazi purportedly told patients to falsely state on those cards that they received the Moderna vaccine on the date they ingested her unapproved Covid-19 homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets.
Homeoprophylaxis involves exposing someone to dilute amounts of a disease, purportedly to stimulate the immune system and create immunity. Prosecutors say Mazi falsely claimed that orally ingesting pellets with small amounts of Covid-19 would result in full, lifelong immunity from the virus.
A criminal complaint filed against Mazi contains a photo of two allegedly falsified vaccination cards that list Moderna as the vaccine and “Dr. Juli Mazi” as the health care provider. The complaint also includes a photo of a document Mazi gave patients explaining how homoeprophylaxis works and instructing them to ingest two to four pellets each day over four days, spacing each of those days apart by at least 48 hours.
“Four total days of dosing are required, before lifelong immunity is considered achieved,” the document states.
The document also instructs patients to fill out vaccination cards and “be sure the Covid-19 vaccine is available to your particular population before using that date on the official record” and “only choose to use two dates, which are at least 1 month apart on the official immunization card.”
In a recorded phone call with the unnamed complainant on June 2, Mazi said Covid-19 vaccination record cards “ask for a manufacturer and lot number. So you know, I um even though it’s more than an ethical stretch that I’m happy about, I am just stepping up to the plate to offer these,” according to the complaint.
Mazi also told the complainant that children and babies could receive the same doses of those homeopathic vaccination pellets.
Mazi charged the unnamed complainant $243 for pellets that she said would provide Covid-19 immunity.
Prosecutors say they analyzed Mazi’s financial records and found she received $221,800 through 1,242 transactions from January 2020 to May 21, 2021. Most of those transactions did not state the purpose of the payments, but 25 transactions amounting to $7,653 indicated the payments were for Covid-19 treatments. Among those, 21 occurred in 2021 after FDA-approved vaccines became available to the public, according to the criminal complaint.
Mazi is also accused of spreading misinformation about FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines by falsely claiming they contain “toxic ingredients.”
“Instead of disseminating valid remedies and information, Juli Mazi profited from unlawfully peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds said in a statement. “We will act to protect trust in the medical developments that are enabling us to emerge from the problems presented by the pandemic.”
According to the complaint, Mazi also offered unapproved, natural-based immunizations for childhood illnesses and falsely claimed those treatments would satisfy immunization requirements for California schools. She allegedly falsified immunization cards submitted by parents to California schools.
“This doctor violated the all-important trust the public extends to healthcare professionals — at a time when integrity is needed the most,” said Steven J. Ryan, special agent in charge of HHS-OIG, in a statement. “Working closely with our law enforcement partners, our agency will continue to investigate such fraudsters who recklessly endanger the public’s health during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.”
If convicted, Mazi faces a maximum 20 years in prison for wire fraud and five years for making false statements related to health care. Each charge also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
Before starting her own practice in September 2019, Mazi previously worked at Thrive Natural Medicine in Soquel, California, for eight years and Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center for 13 months, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Mazi did not immediately respond to a phone message and email requesting comment Wednesday.