A California doctor has been accused of selling fake Covid immunization pellets and vaccine cards, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
The doctor, Juli Mazi, of Napa, was arrested Wednesday and charged with wire fraud and false statements related to health care, according to a criminal complaint.
Mazi, a homeopathic doctor, allegedly told patients that her homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets contained "a very minute amount" of the Covid-19 virus and that by taking them they would develop a "full lifelong immunity," the Justice Department said in a press release.
Mazi encouraged her patients to buy the pellets by falsely telling them that the Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines contained "toxic ingredients," according to prosecutors. Customers who purchased the pellets were given a Covid vaccination card and were instructed to fill it out so it appeared as if they received both doses of the Moderna shot, the release and complaint state.
"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.
The agency said this is the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to fake immunizations and vaccine record cards.
At least one person purchased the pellets for $243. Financial records showed that between January 2020 and May 2021, Mazi received over $221,000 in transactions, the criminal complaint states. Twenty-five of those transactions noted they were for coronavirus treatments.
Authorities began their investigation in April after someone contacted the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and said that their family members had purchased immunization pellets from Mazi.
"The complainant stated that the family members had told her/him that Mazi stated that the pellets contained the Covid-19 virus and would create an antibody response in the immune system," prosecutors said in the press release. "The complainant reported that her/his family did not receive injections of any of the three FDA-authorized Covid-19 vaccines. However, in connection with the delivery of the homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets, Mazi sent Covic-19 Vaccination Record cards, with Moderna listed."
Another person told authorities that after their roommate took the pellets, the person became sick and complained of "gastrointestinal discomfort."
If convicted, Mazi faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and five for making false statements.