Naturopathic doctor in California first to be charged with faking COVID vaccines, vaccination cards

NAPA, Calif. — A California-based naturopathic doctor is the first person in the United States to face charges of offering fake “homeoprophylaxis immunization” coronavirus vaccines and falsifying COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Dr. Juli A. Mazi, 41, a state licensed naturopathic healer in Napa, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters.

Federal officials say Mazi was selling “homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets,” which involve exposing someone who consumes them to a diluted amount of a disease in hopes of triggering an immune response. Prosecutors said she falsely claimed the pellets contained a minute amount of the COVID-19 virus and that the pellets would confer “lifelong immunity.” She also falsely told patients that the approved vaccines against COVID-19 contained “toxic ingredients.”

She also reportedly told patients that the treatment would be effective on children as well — even babies.

The homeoprophylaxis immunization treatment is not authorized by federal health officials to fight COVID-19. There is currently no approved vaccine for anyone under the age of 12.

She also prepared vaccination cards saying that the purchasers of the pellets had received doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, prosecutors say.

“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. 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,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a release announcing the charges.

A message left at Mazi’s office was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

The investigation began in April when someone submitted a tip to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. They said that family members had bought the pellets from Mazi based on the false assurance that they would provide immunity against the disease. She also provided vaccine record cards and instructed the family on how to falsely mark the card to suggest that they had received an approved vaccine.

“Spreading inaccurate or false medical information about COVID-19 for personal gain, as the complaint alleges, is dangerous and only seeds skepticism among the public,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office in the press release. “As the government continues to work to provide current and accurate information to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the FBI will continue to pursue those who attempt to fraudulently profit from spreading misinformation and providing false documentation.”

In a 2019 profile of Mazi in the Napa Valley Register, she said she had recently moved her practice to Napa from Santa Cruz.

After completing her undergraduate and master’s degree in communications at Portland State University, according to the story, Mazi went to medical school at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

“People just think of us as kind of hippy, earthy doctors where we actually have the same training as medical doctors,” she told the Register at the time.

State records show that Mazi holds a valid license as a naturopathic doctor. According to a 2020 directive from the state, such doctors are permitted to administer COVID-19 vaccines provided they complete a training course, follow all state and federal record keeping rules, and administer one of the federally approved vaccines. Only three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have received the “emergency use authorization” so far from the federal government.

According to the Register article, naturopathic doctors receive extensive training in botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, nutraceuticial medicine, intravenous (iv) and injection therapy, hydrotherapy, lifestyle coaching, counseling, physical and Functional Medicine.

Federal officials say the public can report suspected vaccine fraud by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at justice.gov.

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