NAPA, Calif. -- A Napa woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to selling forged U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards and fake COVID-19 immunization pills, according to the Department of Justice.
Federal investigators arrested Juli Mazi, a 41-year-old licensed homeopathic doctor, last July after receiving a tip that she had sold the fake treatments to the tipster's family members.
According to court documents, Mazi falsely claimed that the pills contained a small amount of the COVID virus and would generate lifelong immunity by creating antibodies.
Mazi also sent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards to the source's family members that included specific vaccine lot numbers and instructions for how to falsify that they had received the two-dose Moderna vaccine when they had not received any of the three federally authorized COVID vaccines.
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Further investigation found that Mazi had provided fake vaccination cards to more than 200 people as well as fake immunization pills for vaccinations required for children to attend school and fraudulent vaccine cards her customers planned to submit to schools as proof that their child had received the requisite vaccinations.
Mazi sold the fake vaccination cards for childhood immunizations to more than 100 people, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds, whose office prosecuted the case.
"Mazi's fake health care records scheme endangered the health and well-being of students and the general public at a time when confidence in our public health system is of critical importance," Hinds said in a statement.
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Mazi pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements related to health care matters, which carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 25 years.
Each charge also includes a maximum $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Mazi's scheme was initially reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General.
The HHS-OIG's San Francisco Regional Office and the FBI's San Francisco Field Office assisted in the investigation of Mazi's scheme.
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"During a time when the public has been heavily reliant on our medical professionals for advice and guidance, Mazi has brazenly violated the trust of the public by instilling fear and spreading misinformation surrounding COVID-19 immunizations and treatments," said Luis Quesada, the assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division.
Any fraud allegations related to COVID-19 can be reported to the U.S. Department of Justice at (866) 720-5721 or at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Mazi is scheduled to be sentenced July 29.
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