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A Corona woman pleaded guilty to assault and unlawfully practicing medicine last week for performing a liposuction and fat re-injection on a client that nearly killed her, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Barbara Nieto, 29, of 58th Avenue and 99th Street in Corona, admitted her crime in court before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron May 30, the DA said. Kron plans to sentence her to two years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision Aug. 8, the DA said. In addition, Nieto will have to pay $180,000 to her previous clients, the DA said.
“The defendant held out the false promise of being able to provide her victim with a more attractive appearance,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Instead, she nearly caused the death of the young woman by performing medical procedures for which she was neither licensed to perform nor capable of performing.”
Nieto held New York Department of State licenses for beauty enhancement businesses, but did not have the licenses to perform the procedures or practice medicine, the DA said. Despite this, she operated two spas, Perfect Image Stethics, at Junction Boulevard near 41st Avenue in Corona, and Bell Stetika Esthetics and Spa, on Corona Avenue near 94th Street in Elmhurst, the DA said.
A 23-year-old woman had come to Nieto’s Perfect Image business on March 20, 2010, for a $500 procedure that would remove some fat from her stomach and put it in her buttocks, the DA said. Nieto performed the procedure, injecting her with a pain-reliever, using a machine to take out the stomach fat, injecting the pain reliever into the buttocks and putting the fat into her buttocks, the DA said. After it was over, Nieto said the woman would need to have follow-up massage sessions, the DA said.
A few days after the re-injection the client suffered severe pain and high fever, the DA said. She went to Flushing Hospital March 27 after finding it difficult to walk, the DA said. Doctors there found she had abscesses, or a buildup of pus, in both buttocks and put her through a surgery that required her to remain in the hospital afterward for five days, the DA said.
If untreated, she would have died from septic infection, the DA said.
“The unfortunate reality of these unsafe procedures can be lifelong deformity and even death,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. “We urge anyone considering cosmetic surgery to have it performed by a licensed, reputable health care provider.”
Nieto has performed this procedure on more than 100 people, according to consent forms retrieved from her offices, although they had not suffered the same medical emergency, the DA said.
She has been free on her own recognizance since she was arrested, the DA said. Her $180,000 restitution, which includes a $130,000 confession of judgment, must be paid before her sentencing, the DA said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
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