Doctor is first to face federal charges for selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

Doctor is first to face federal charges for selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards
© Department of Defense

A naturopathic doctor is the first person to face federal charges for selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards.

Juli Mazi of Napa, Calif., is accused of faking COVID-19 vaccine cards to indicate that customers had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Mazi is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters.

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Prosecutors allege that someone tipped off the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Inspector General, stating that family members purchased “immunization pellets” from Mazi purporting to create an antibody response to COVID-19.

Along with the pellets, Mazi sent COVID-19 vaccination cards with Moderna listed, and told them to write in the day they ingested the pellets on the card.

Mazi allegedly claimed that orally ingesting the pellets with small amounts of COVID-19 would result in full, lifelong immunity from the disease. She falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines on the markets contain “toxic ingredients.”

Prosecutors allege that Mazi had an existing scheme of selling immunization pellets and fabricating vaccination records.

According to a criminal complaint, she would offer the immunizations for childhood illness claiming to satisfy the state of California’s vaccination requirements for schools.

The complaint alleges that Mazi received over $221,000 between January 2020 to May 2021 from 1,242 transactions on Square. Most of the transactions didn’t include a description indicating what they were, but 25 of the payments worth a total of $7,600 were for the COVID-19 treatments.

Mazi is facing 20 years in prison for wire fraud and five years for making false statements. Each charge also comes with a maximum $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.

Authentic COVID-19 vaccine cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are given for free to people who get vaccinated, though officials have warned of a huge market for fake cards.