Quick Take:

Santa Cruz CORE founder and CEO Jaimi Jansen was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay fines totaling nearly $13,000 after pleading guilty in June to federal charges of distributing fake COVID-19 immunization pellets and vaccination cards.

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After pleading guilty in June to federal charges of distributing fake COVID-19 immunization pellets and vaccination cards, Jaimi Jansen, founder and CEO of Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab, was sentenced to three years of probation Wednesday in her return to a federal court in San Francisco. Jansen also must pay a fine of $300 to the United States Special Assessor as well as an additional fine of $12,470, her personal profit from the scheme.

Jaimi Jansen fraud case update

She initially faced a five-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Jansen was a part of a wider scheme engineered by Juli Mazi, a Napa-based naturopathic doctor who once worked in Santa Cruz, who herself pleaded guilty in April to “false statements related to health care matters” and to wire fraud. Jansen functioned as a distributor for Mazi.

Mazi has since fired her attorneys and is representing herself. She is due for sentencing in November and faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge and five additional years for the false statements charge. Each charge includes a fine up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release.

An April filing from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California stated that the 40-year-old “Jansen provided to each customer a vial with the individual dose of fake ‘immunization pellets’ provided by Mazi, the blank false and fraudulent [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] COVID-19 vaccination record cards also provided by Mazi, and a printout of Mazi’s two-page instruction sheet with instructions on how to fill in the false and fraudulent CDC COVID-19 vaccination record cards to make it falsely appear as though the recipient had received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.”

Judge Charles Breyer noted that he approached Jansen’s case differently than he typically would.

“Normally, I would send people to jail for this. In this case, I feel that you were yourself victimized and taken advantage of,” he said. “While it is regrettable, the probation department and the counsel have provided a good picture of your life and who you are.”

“I think you care very much about other people, but are somewhat naive to the forces around you, some of which are not benign.”

An emotional Jansen expressed regret at her sentencing hearing.

“I never imagined I would be in a court of law for my own sentencing,” she said. “My upbringing always taught me to do the right thing and contribute positively to society, and I have failed. I’m sorry to have put people at risk and continue to take steps to ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again.”

It is unclear at this point if Jansen will return to her role in leading CORE. The company had not responded to Lookout on that question as of publication time.

The case against Jansen is part of a larger federal case incriminating 21 people, including seven Californians, and alleged COVID-19-related aid fraud totaling nearly $150 million.

On April 19, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco charged Jansen with making false statements related to health care matters, alleging that from May 2021 into July 2021, she sold fake COVID-19 vaccination cards along with fake “immunization pellets.”

The case itself is laid out in the U.S. attorney’s filing.

According to the documents, the scheme’s purpose was to “make money by claiming that homeoprophylaxis immunizations would provide immunity to COVID-19” while making it look like customers had received vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Though Jansen is the main person named in the complaint, it also points to the involvement of other CORE employees.

The filing states that around May 2021, “Jansen and employees of Santa Cruz CORE engaged in health care consultations with Dr. Juli Mazi, who offered homeoprophylaxis pellets for sale and claimed that they could provide lifelong immunity to COVID-19, and false and fraudulent CDC COVID-19 vaccination record cards, which Mazi instructed should be filled out to make it falsely appear as though the recipient had received the FDA-authorized Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, when the recipient did not.”

Santa Cruz CORE declined comment on that assertion.

Max Chun is the general-assignment correspondent at Lookout Santa Cruz. Max’s position has pulled him in many different directions, seeing him cover development, COVID, the opioid crisis, labor, courts...