Juli Mazi is a California naturopathic doctor accused of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and “immunization pellets” to her patients. The 41-year-old Napa woman was charged in the coronavirus scheme with wire fraud and false statements related to health matters, federal prosecutors said.
Mazi was charged in the U.S. District of Northern California on July 14, 2021, according to a press release and criminal complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s office. “The case is the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record cards,” prosecutors said in the release. Federal investigators began looking into Mazi in April 2021 after receiving a tip. A person reported in a complaint that their family members had purchased COVID-19 vaccination record cards from Mazi, prosecutors said.
“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 statement. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from fraudsters during this national emergency. This commitment is evident in this prosecution as well as in the ongoing work of the Department and our agency partners in the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force established by the Attorney General earlier this year.”
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds said in a statement, “Steering through the challenges presented by COVID-19 requires trust and reliance on our medical professionals to provide sage information and guidance. 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. We will act to protect trust in the medical developments that are enabling us to emerge from the problems presented by the pandemic.”
Mazi remains in custody after her arrest. The homeopathic doctor could not be reached for comment by Heavy and it was not immediately clear if she has hired an attorney who could speak on her behalf. It was also not known when she is scheduled to appear in court.
Here’s what you need to know about Juli Mazi:
1. Mazi Sold Vaccination Cards That Made It Appear Her Patients Had Received the Moderna Vaccine & Falsely Claimed $243 Pellets Would Provide Lifelong Immunity From COVID-19, Prosecutors Say
According to prosecutors, a tipster called the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General hotline in April 2021 to file a report about Mazi. According to the press release:
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. 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 COVID-19 Vaccination Record cards, with Moderna listed, to the complainant family. Mazi allegedly instructed the complainant family to mark the cards to falsely state that they received the Moderna vaccine on the date that they ingested the COVID-19 homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets.
According to court documents, Mazi offered homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses that she falsely claimed would satisfy the immunization requirements for California schools, and falsified immunization cards that were submitted by parents to California schools. Homeoprophylaxis involves the exposure of an individual to dilute amounts of a disease, purportedly to stimulate the immune system and confer immunity. Mazi is alleged to have falsely claimed that orally ingesting pellets with small amounts of COVID-19 would result in full lifelong immunity from COVID-19.
Prosecutors say Mazi took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand her pre-existing immunization scheme by selling immunization pellets that she fraudulently claimed, in written documents and consensually monitored recordings, would provide ‘lifelong immunity to COVID-19.'” According to the complaint, Mazi falsely told patients the pellets she was selling for $243 contained a “very minute amount” of COVID-19 and that would result in “infections symptoms” of the coronavirus that would “automatically flag the immune system’s attention, inducing immunity.”
According to the prosecutors’ press release, “To encourage customers to purchase the pellets, Mazi allegedly exploited disinformation and fear by falsely claiming that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain ‘toxic ingredients.’ Mazi further stated that her customers could provide the pellets to children for COVID-19 immunity, and that the ‘dose is actually the same for babies.'”
Mazi is accused of giving CDC COVID-19 vaccination record cards to her customers and giving them instructions on how to fraudulently fill out the cards to make it appear they had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine. “As part of her scheme, Mazi provided customers with specific Moderna vaccine lot numbers to enter onto the cards and with instruction on how to select the purported dates on which they had received the Moderna vaccines to evade suspicion,” prosecutors said.
2. Mazi Started Her Own Office in Napa in 2019 After Working Previously as a Naturopathic Doctor at Thrive Natural Medicine & the Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center
Mazi is a licensed naturopathic doctor in the state of California and runs her Napa office, “Juli Mazi, ND, a Naturopathic Doctor Corporation.” According to California law, a license “requires (1) proof of having graduated from one of the four-year accredited naturopathic medical colleges, (2) a passing NPLEX score, (3) completion and submission of application for California licensure, which may be obtained from the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine in Sacramento, CA. Licensure does not currently require passage of California specific board exams. Residencies are not a current requirement.”
According to the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, “With the passage of SB907, NDs gained the ability to practice medicine in California. Although this was a great victory for our profession, in order to ensure that licensure occurred, we had to make some initial compromises. As a result, our ability to practice medicine to the full extent of our training is currently somewhat restricted, but we are working on changing this.” The association says NDs can refer to themselves as doctors, perform physical and gynecological exams, order lab tests and diagnostic and imaging studies, diagnose, treat with diet, herbs, nutrients, homeopathic, hydrotherapy and neuromuscular technique, prescribe natural and synthetic hormones and prescribe schedule IV-V controlled substances under the supervision of a MD or DO.
But naturopathic doctors cannot identify themselves as a physician or prescribe Schedule I-II drugs, among other restrictions.
Mazi graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, in 2012. The school says on an alumni spotlight section of its website, “Her own experience with medical school at NUNM dispels some myths about naturopathic medicine: that it is a bunch of ‘hippy, earthy doctors.’ Instead, Dr. Mazi completed four years of rigorous medical school and board certifications. Like all ND grads from NUNM, she went through extensive training of advanced sciences, functional medicine, and alternative medicine and therapies in order to treat the whole person.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, Mazi was a naturopathic doctor at the Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center from 2012 to 2013 and then worked at Thrive Natural Medicine in SOquel, California, from 2013 until 2019, when she moved her practice to Napa.
Mazi told the Napa Valley Register in 2019, “I always wanted to be a naturopath.” The newspaper wrote, “Her spirit of investigation came alive when she discovered her strong connection to the plant world, she said. Fascinated by nutrition and the medicinal properties of food and herbs, Mazi said she experimented with various diets, and searched out exotic fruits, vegetables, and herbs to discover their effects for herself.”
Mazi told the Napa Valley Register, “People just think of us as kind of hippy, earthy doctors where we actually have the same training as medical doctors. … We do four years of pre-med and four years of medical school. Naturopathic doctors have two more years of curriculum packed into our four-year doctorate education.”
She told the newspaper she usually uses pharmaceuticals “as a last resort,” adding, “Most pharmaceuticals are actually derived from herbal medicines, looking for the active ingredient in plants when really the active ingredient is the whole plant. A good example is aspirin, which is derived from white willow. Taking aspirin long-term creates all kinds of issues, which you don’t have when you take high doses of white willow. There is something about the whole plant which is more healing than just the derivative.”
3. Mazi, Who Says She Comes From a Family of Educators, Studied Communications at Portland State University & Says She Chose Naturopathic Medicine Because of a ‘Life-Changing Experience’ While There
Mazi wrote on her website, “A life-changing experience led her to choose naturopathic medicine when she was in college. She fell in love with a young man with cystic fibrosis and witnessed the failure of the conventional medical science to help him. She began researching natural treatments and together they tried various regimens, including physiotherapy, herbs, and vitamin-mineral therapy, but, as Dr. Mazi sadly recalls, ‘His pharmaceutical load made it impossible for him to truly thrive.’ It was this experience that inspired Juli to pursue natural medicine.”
Mazi graduated from Portland State University with an undergraduate and master’s degree in communication studies, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Her website says, “Dr. Mazi comes from a family of notable educators. Her grandfather, Stephen E. Epler, founded both Portland State University and Ohlone College; her grandmother was a high school teacher for many years, her mother taught kindergarten for 40 years, and her father was a college professor, who worked with students on their doctoral theses. Dr. Mazi shares her family’s passion to educate.”
Mazi wrote on her website, “When someone has knowledge and understanding of their health problem—and the array of holistic and non-toxic therapies that are available to them, that patient is now at the helm of their own healing.”
Her practice includes classical homeopathy, gynecology and women’s health, acute care, geriatric care, botanical medicine, mood and behavioral medicine, IV therapy, pediatrics, men’s health, digestive health, grief recovery, adjuvant cancer care and autoimmunity.
4. Mazi Shared Pro-Science Posts on Facebook Along With Political Posts Supporting Democrats & Opposing Trump
Mazi, according to her website, lives with her partner. Her website states, “Dr. Mazi and her partner, love cooking medicinal meals and enjoy hiking, camping and exploring the gorgeous nature of California’s coastal landscape. Dr. Mazi is especially inspired to make music, another one of her healing modalities, and she enjoys singing and dancing. She has a deep love of art in its many forms including medicine.” Her Facebook profile shows she is the mother of a teen daughter.
Mazi has posted often about her political views on Facebook over the past year, expressing support for President Joe Biden and other Democrats and her opposition to former President Donald Trump and Republicans. Her posts also include pro-science and pro-mask views, but she shared a post in September 2020 about concerns over rushing out a coronavirus vaccine.
Mazi wrote in October 2020, “Awaiting the results of this election, I find myself compulsively checking the most updated poll results. I fear a world where Trump is re-elected. I knew it would be bad when he initially became president, but I NEVER thought it would directly impact my own life so intensely. Every time I see a Trump supporter, I have a visceral reaction, I physically feel sick over it. I can’t understand how ANYONE can support someone who is a white supremist, racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, ageist, pedophilia supporting, narcissistic, destroyer of our planet. I’m holding my breath till this election is over, I’m keeping the faith, holding the space, saying the prayers. The pain he has caused feels thick in the collective & I’m hopeful Biden & his administration can undo most of the damage that’s been done ”
5. Mazi Is Being Held at the Santa Rita Jail
Mazi is being held at the Santa Rita Jail, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Office records, pending her first appearance in federal court.
Prosecutors said in the press release, “Mazi is charged with wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and making false statements related to health case, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1035. If convicted, Mazi faces a maximum statutory prison sentence of 20 years for the wire fraud charge and 5 years for the false statements charge. In addition, each charge carries a maximum $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.” If convicted, Mazi would not be likely to face the highest possible prison term.
The case is being investigated by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s San Francisco Regional Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, according to prosecutors. “Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Sridhar Babu Kaza of the Department of Justice Criminal Division Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force are prosecuting the case. The case was brought in coordination with the Health Care Fraud Unit’s COVID-19 Interagency Working Group, which is chaired by the National Rapid Response Strike Force and organizes efforts to address illegal activity involving health care programs during the pandemic,” prosecutors said.
“This doctor violated the all-important trust the public extends to healthcare professionals — at a time when integrity is needed the most. Working closely with our law enforcement partners, our agency will continue to investigate such fraudsters who recklessly endanger the public’s health during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis,” Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) said in a statement.
Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office added in a statement, “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. 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.”
Prosecutors added in the press release:
In May, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it 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: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
The Fraud Section uses the Victim Notification System (VNS) to provide victims with case information and updates related to this case. Victims with questions may contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Assistance Unit by calling the Victim Assistance phone line at 1-888-549-3945 or by emailing Victimassistance.firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about victims’ rights, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-vns/victim-rights-derechos-de-las-v-ctimas.