Federal prosecutors have arrested and charged a naturopathic physician in Northern California accused of selling fake COVID-19 immunization treatments
The case is the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination cards, the department said.
Prosecutors scolded Mazi for peddling fake medical information and seeding skepticism at a time when health officials are pleading with the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The pandemic and the vaccines have generated deep divisions in the country, with some saying they don’t trust the shots and won’t get inoculated.
Federal prosecutors say Mazi sold homeoprophylaxis immunization 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, prosecutors said.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint in April to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General hotline.
“According to the complaint, 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,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California.
It was not immediately known if Mazi had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf. A phone message to her office in Napa was not immediately returned.