On July 14, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of a homeopathic doctor in Napa, California who had allegedly been providing fake COVID-19 immunizations and falsifying vaccine cards. Rather than provide one of the select FDA-authorized vaccines to patients seeking to ward off COVID-19, the doctor allegedly sold patients homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets, which are not approved by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19. The doctor allegedly told patients that the pellets contained the COVID-19 virus and would create an antibody response in the immune system. DOJ obtained written documents and recordings in which the doctor claimed that the pellets would provide immunity to COVID-19 for life. DOJ further alleges that the doctor provided patients with COVID-19 Vaccination Records indicating that the Moderna vaccine had been administered on the date that the pellets were orally ingested. The doctor allegedly provided customers with specific Moderna vaccine lot numbers to enter onto the cards. DOJ alleges that the doctor played on individuals’ fears by spreading misinformation concerning the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
DOJ further alleges that the doctor would offer homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses, lying to parents by telling them that the immunizations met the requirements for California schools. The doctor would then provide fake immunization cards to provide to the school. Playing on that original scheme, the doctor allegedly provided the pellets to parents and informed them that the pellets could provide immunity to children and even babies. DOJ highlighted its perception of the egregiousness of the acts of the doctor – violating the trust the public places in healthcare professionals at a time when trust is so essential to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The doctor was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters. The case is being coordinated with the DOJ Health Care Fraud Unit’s COVID-19 Interagency Working Group, which organizes efforts to address illegal activity involving health care programs during the pandemic. The prosecution is also supported by the new COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established in May 2021.
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