Illegal Buttocks Enhancement Procedure Lands Woman in Prison

 

A Monterey Park woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for injecting a woman with an unknown substance that was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, who is not a physician and did not have any professional licenses in the U.S., was sentenced by a federal judge on March 5, 2018, after pleading guilty to one count of receiving and administering an adulterated and misbranded liquid substance and admitting that she injected the liquid substance into the victim during a body contouring procedure that included buttocks enhancement. As part of the plea agreement, Diaz Hernandez will also pay a $95,000 fine and $30,000 restitution to her victim.

The conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, and Operation Safe Medicine, part of the Health Quality Investigation Unit (HQIU) within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation.

In December 2016, the Medical Board of California received a complaint alleging that Diaz Hernandez had injected a victim with an unknown substance during an enhancement procedure.  HQIU investigators learned the procedure involved a series of treatments at Diaz Hernandez’s home.  During the contouring process, Diaz Hernandez claimed to be a doctor and mislead the victim about the safety of the injections.

Following the procedure, the unknown substance migrated into the victim’s back, hips and legs and she underwent surgery to remove the foreign substance from her body. She was eventually hospitalized due to infections and complications from the procedure and received skin grafts to repair the damage.

HQIU investigators alerted the FDA and HQIU and FDA investigators teamed up to inspect trash from Diaz Hernandez’s home, where they found bottles of Spanish-labeled medical products and empty syringe packaging. Investigators then conducted surveillance on Diaz Hernandez’s home and served a search warrant.

Drugs and medical devices are considered adulterated when they are used for a purpose other than the use they have been approved or cleared for marketing by the FDA. Drugs and medical devices are considered misbranded when their labeling does not have adequate directions and warnings for use under U.S. law or when prescription drugs are dispensed without a written or oral prescription by a licensed medical practitioner.

Diaz Hernandez was arrested in June 2017 and reached a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office in July 2017.

The United States Attorney’s Office news releases can be read HERE.

 


Federal Charges Brought for Illegal Sale of Prescription Medications

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An Orange County man was arrested last week for the illegal sale of prescription medications.

Sean Gerson, of Laguna Hills, was taken into custody on December 13, 2016, following a lengthy investigation into his illegal sales of prescription medications. Gerson allegedly used multiple websites to sell misbranded veterinary medications including antibiotics and flea treatments. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Gerson with one felony and one misdemeanor count for misbranding and dispensing drugs without prescriptions and his bail has been set at $25,000.

Gerson’s arrest was the result of years of investigation by both federal and state agencies. Gerson was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation San Diego Field Office, California Veterinary Medical Board and California State Board of Pharmacy.

Gerson was previously convicted of similar state charges in Texas in 2014.

In California, Gerson was allegedly operating a pharmacy without a valid pharmacy license, selling drugs without prescriptions and was using the names of licensed veterinarians, without their knowledge, in order to obtain the drugs he was selling. There were also allegations that he had misrepresented himself as a veterinarian.

Information was referred to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in 2013, but they declined to file criminal charges. Gerson has faced civil lawsuits in Orange County from the Department of Pesticide Regulation and from the various companies that provided him with the products he sold.

The Division of Investigation worked closely with the Federal Drug Administration to obtain the evidence needed for the criminal charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office news release can be read here.

Information about the California Department of Pesticide Regulation cases can be read here.


DCA Investigators Honored at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District 14th Annual Law Enforcement Awards

PrintLOS ANGELES – Three Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) investigators were recognized today at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California 14th Annual Law Enforcement Awards for their distinguished service.

“It is an honor to have our investigators recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We are extremely proud of our investigators and their hard work. This recognition is well-deserved.”

Supervising Investigator Laura J. Gardhouse and Investigator Larry Bennett were recognized for their work on a case involving Dr. Andrew S. Sun. Sun, a former southern California physician, was convicted of money laundering and illegally prescribing and distributing controlled substances. Sun was sentenced earlier this year to serve five years in federal prison. DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit collaborated on this investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, California Department of Health Care Services, and Monterey Park Police Department.

Supervising Investigator Carmen Aguilera-Marquez was recognized for her work on operation “Cat Eyes.” The Los Angeles-area investigation led to federal criminal charges being filed last year against 12 defendants for allegedly selling decorative and cosmetic contact lenses—including some that were contaminated—without prescriptions. DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit collaborated on this investigation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Import Operations Branch of the Los Angeles District Office, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and California Department of Public Health.

“The Law Enforcement Awards event is one of the highlights of our year as we happily take the time to recognize the hard – and sometimes thankless – work of investigators who can devote years of their lives to a single case to ensure that justice is served,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “These awards are not only a symbol of the dedication of our law enforcement partners; they also recognize the incredible working relationships that we have forged in this District.”

The annual awards ceremony recognizes federal, state, and local agents, officers, and investigators who worked on U.S. Attorney’s Office cases in the district.

For more information on the cases, see the U.S. Attorney’s Office news releases regarding the Dr. Sun investigation and operation “Cat Eyes.”

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.