Life Coach Posing as Doctor Issued Hundreds of False Vaccination Certificates, Police Say

A life coach from the suburbs of Gold Coast, Australia, was arrested Wednesday and charged with posing as a doctor after allegedly writing 600 fake COVID-19 "exemption certificates."

Queensland Police said Maria Pau, who has authored a book on addiction and sometimes goes under the name "Maria Power," issued certificates that stated the holder was exempt from receiving COVID-19 vaccines, wearing masks or undergoing testing for the virus. Pau charged 150 Australian dollars ($111 U.S.) per certificate, according to police.

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A life coach in Australia was arrested on charges she allegedly provided false COVID-19 "exemption certificates." Above, an image of the coronavirus. Getty Images

Pau, 45, was charged under the country's Health Practitioner Regulation National Law on five counts of taking a title indicating a person is a health practitioner. An addiction coach, Pau is said to hold a doctorate in research, but police say she falsely believed she had the authority to make the medical documents.

During a Thursday press conference, Detective Acting Inspector Damien Powell said Pau claimed to have issued 600 exemption certificates. However, he noted that police have not verified that amount.

"What we have been able to establish so far is that they are from across Australia, all mainland states," Powell said. The officer also said police learned of Pau's activities after receiving a tip from a member of the public.

"She's of the belief that she's entitled to issue those certificates," Powell added about Pau, who he said is "anti-COVID" and believes the coronavirus does not exist.

Powell also noted that individuals who bought certificates from Pau knowing that she is not a medical doctor and thus unqualified to provide such exemptions could also face criminal charges.

"That will require further investigation as to what their knowledge was and what they were presented with," he said.

"It's very concerning because if those documents are being provided to employers as being exemptions from vaccination then that exposes that person to risk of catching COVID.... It also places their colleagues at risk," Powell continued. "This is not a matter to be treated lightly, and we're taking it extremely seriously."

A book authored by Pau, Kill Your Addiction Before It Kills You: How I Transformed My Life of Addictions, Bipolar and Suicide, is available on Amazon and details how she overcame drug addiction before becoming a mental health coach. She has also written articles on wellness and recovery.

Australian media outlets have reported that Pau has posted on social media platforms throughout the pandemic. Her messages are said to reflect her skepticism about the coronavirus as well as opposition to vaccine and mask mandates.

Pau is scheduled to appear in court on October 28.