Ukiah pharmacist charged with COVID scam
The director of pharmacy at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Hospital was one of the 21 people charged this week by the US Department of Justice for their alleged roles in various COVID-19 scams.
Pharmacist, Ranna Shamiya, is one of three people who prosecutors say emboldened a Napa-based naturopath at the center of a scheme to produce fake coronavirus vaccination cards and sell fake COVID cures .
Shamiya was accused of making false statements related to health issues.
According to the Department of Justice, Shamiya, 41, used his access to controlled medical information to identify the legitimate lot numbers of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA, and passed this information to Juli Mazi, the homeopathic doctor. from Napa.
Mazi then used the batch numbers to create fake COVID-19 vaccination records. These cards allegedly incorrectly indicate that Mazi customers received an FDA-cleared COVID-19 vaccine with a verified lot number.
A voicemail message left on a phone believed to belong to Shamiya went unanswered Thursday, and Adventist Health representatives — both in Ukiah Valley and at the Roseville headquarters — were not immediately available for comment.
If convicted, Shamiya faces five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation, prosecutors say.
Mazi, meanwhile, pleaded guilty April 9 in federal court in San Francisco to one count of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation related to health care matters. This was the first federal criminal prosecution related to fraudulent COVID vaccination cards, the Justice Department said. Mazi provided fake cards to at least 200 people, along with instructions on how to make it look like the bearer had received a dose of the Moderna vaccine.
In addition to the fake cards, Mazi sold “homeoprophylactic vaccination lozenges” which she claimed would provide “lifelong immunity against COVID-19”. She lied to customers, telling them the lozenges contained small amounts of virus and would create an antibody response, prosecutors said.
According to the Ministry of Justice, Mazi had previously engaged in similar deceptive practices by providing forged pills and vaccination cards in place of childhood vaccinations required for school attendance.
Mazi, 41, is expected to be sentenced on July 29.
The DOJ also charged two other people it said worked with Mazi. Jason Costanza of El Paso was his office manager and Jaimi Jansen allegedly distributed both the fraudulent remedies and doctored cards through his wellness center in Santa Cruz.
You can reach Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or email@example.com. On Twitter @Skinny_Post.