Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

December 12, 2011: Unlicensed Cosmetologist Sentenced to Nine Months in Jail in Death of 43-Year-Old Bronx Woman

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Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release

 

For Immediate Release
December 12, 2011

United States Attorney
District of New York

 

Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today that an unlicensed cosmetologist has been sentenced to nine months in jail for causing the death of a Bronx woman in March 2009.

A jury, after two days of deliberations last month, convicted Elsa Then, 58, of 134 Burhans Avenue, Yonkers, on one count of Criminally Negligent Homicide in the death of Fiordaliza Maribel Pichardo, 43.

The jury heard evidence that Then, who was not licensed in New York State to administer silicone injections, falsely claimed to have had state approval to do so, and, in fact, did inject the deceased at her Rosedale Avenue home on March 16, 2009. When Pichardo, the mother of two grown children, became ill as a result, her family took her to Bronx Lebanon Hospital where she died on March 18, 2009.

Although the People recommended a sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus sentenced Then to nine months in jail. Then, who had been free on $10,000 bail, was then led away in handcuffs. The judge also issued orders of protection which directed the defendant not to try to contact members of the deceased woman's family when she is released after serving her sentence.

In recommending that the maximum sentence be imposed, the People argued that Then was cold and calculating, had preyed upon the insecurities of the deceased, and had betrayed the trust and friendship of the family. The court was told that after the victim had died, the defendant tried to cover up her culpability and attempted to convince the family that smoking was the cause of death.

The autopsy revealed the presence of excessive amounts of silicone lodged in the deceased woman's hips and thighs. Numerous injection sites were also discovered during the examination of the body. The cause of death was listed as silicone induced pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the lungs).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Klein of the Arson / Auto / Economic Crime Bureau.

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